In the final installment in our series on local ad revenue we talk with Ron Cohen, President/CEO CRC Broadcasting Company in Arizona. The company owns three stations in Arizona and California.
Radio Ink: How has local been for you in Q2?
Cohen: We’re down. We have been in an environment of declining revenue for the last five years. Despite being down I started a new radio station about two-and-a-half years ago out of necessity. I had to create additional scale. I finally found the right station at the right price, so the sports station KQFN 1580 AM will probably help us going forward. We are seeing engagement and that’s encouraging.
Radio Ink: How are things looking moving forward?
Cohen: I’m certainly much more optimistic than I have been in recent years. As any business does, you have to be able to roll with the times. I’m hoping to build revenue over not only the next two quarters, but hopefully this will establish us to have some sustained revenue growth. That will translate into adding more people and creating more capability and opportunities for us.
Radio Ink: What are your best categories?
Cohen: Because of Financial Radio, Financial Services is a category that we do quite well in. In General — and I don’t think there is a category for this, but because most of our business is direct, we tend to run across entrepreneurs or businesses where the decision-maker happens to be a fan of one radio station or the other and they are clients that are sticking with us because they love what we’re doing.
Radio Ink: What challenges are you facing going forward?
Cohen: Finding good sellers. You know, in the 30 years I’ve been in the business, I find that to be a function of the economy. When we are in the full-employment dynamic, I find it hard to find and retain good sellers. I can’t compete with the big compensation packages that these young people are looking for from companies that they identify more with.
Radio Ink: What is your gut feeling about the rest of the year?
Cohen: Our Westwood One NFL package is really going to help us. It has opened up a lot more doors for us when it comes to local ad revenue. We always have been offering a great price-point, but now we are bringing the opportunity to a small business to market themselves on Sunday night, Monday night, and Thursday night football; plus the playoffs and the Super Bowl. We are bringing those opportunities to a small business that could never think about affording something like that on radio. I guarantee on the big stations it would have cost them more. We have taken the NASCAR network from another station, and we also have some local products like high school sports and Division One basketball. So we are getting a bigger piece of the local pie and that should be good for us.
Thanks to Ron Cohen, President/CEO CRC Broadcasting Company