Meet Radio’s Top Local Sales Manager


Tim Gratzer has 24 years of experience in the radio industry. He’s a great mentor for his AEs, according to Cumulus Market Manager Alex Cadelago, because he’s equally vested in their personal growth as he is their financial success.

With clients Tim excels at creating true partnerships that are mutually rewarding. Always determined to exceed client expectations, Tim is well respected among the buying community and his peers in the industry.

Tim’s experience and skills also translated into stellar performance. In 2018 Tim’s outstanding leadership fueled Cumulus Houston team to a record year, finishing as the #1 FM station for local billing in Houston for the first time ever. All of this success while operating as a standalone station in market #6, competing against juggernaut clusters. KRBE-FM has had a phenomenal ride the past few years and Tim Gratzer’s leadership of the sales team has been vital to that success.

Tim was a Radio Ink Radio Wayne LSM of the Year finalist in 2018. Last month, at the Radio Show in Dallas, Tim took home the trophy. Here’s our interview with Radio Ink’s 2019 Radio Wayne Local Sales Manager of The Year, from Cumulus’ KRBE in Houston, Tim Gratzer.

Radio Ink: What were you thinking when your name was called in Dallas when you won?
Tim Gratzer: I had promised my wife and my team that I would FaceTime my speech if I won, since they could not be there with me, but I was not really expecting I would actually have to go through with it. It’s nerve-racking enough to get up in front of that big room and speak, but to make sure to start the live session and keep your phone pointed at yourself is a completely different challenge in itself.

Radio Ink: Tell us about the relationships you have with your sellers and why they respond to your leadership?
Tim Gratzer: Good or bad, we can spend almost as much time with our sales teams as we do with our own family, so it’s important to treat each other with a similar kind of respect.   You want all of your family members to succeed and that’s no different when you are with your work family.

Radio Ink: How has selling radio changed over the years you’ve been a sales manager and what MUST seller know to succeed today?
Tim Gratzer: Creating custom marketing solutions and selling their value has and will always be the constant for success. What HAS changed are all of the additional tools we have, in addition to our radio assets, to enhance our campaigns and ultimately deliver a higher return. Sellers need to embrace and understand how these products can actually work WITH radio and these integrated campaigns will become the standard “radio” proposal.

Radio Ink: How do you stay sharp and how do you keep your salespeople educated in a world where things change so quickly and advertisers are bombarded with so many salespeople every day?
Tim Gratzer: Obviously we read Radio Ink daily (!!) but we also spend time in sales meetings and one-on-ones highlighting successful integrated campaigns and the key products used in them. It’s great to have an understanding of the many new products out there, and we’re constantly learning, but I mostly encourage our reps to stay focused on the client’s marketing objective. Not every digital product or new medium is going to fit for every campaign, but you can make a pretty good case for radio with all of them.

Radio Ink: What does your team do to educate clients that radio works?
Tim Gratzer: Our reps start every proposal with why radio can and should be the base of a client’s campaign. There is a slide we use that shows how typical advertising mediums perform against the eight characteristics of successful ad campaigns. Some mediums check two or three of the characteristics, but radio is the only one that checks all of the boxes. And yes, then we show how adding the second medium (our digital arsenal) has been proven to increase an ROI by 19%. Cumulus is also the first radio company to offer an advertising guarantee, and I’m sure other companies will follow …so we’ll be happy to prove that radio works if you don’t believe our presentation!

Radio Ink: What advice do you have for other sales managers across the country so one day they might walk up those steps and win a Radio Wayne?
Tim Gratzer: Try to understand what all of your reps and clients are trying to accomplish, both personally and professionally. Then, when their success comes, you get to share in their excitement, whatever small part you played. I have found that I have way more opportunities to celebrate success that way.

Reach out to Tim to congratulate him on being named Radio Ink’s best sales manager of 2019 [email protected]


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