Forecast 2020 is coming up November 20 at the Harvard Club, NYC. “Independent and Optimistic: Why Smaller Can be Better & More Profitable” is one of the informative panel discussions on the agenda. On the panel will be Kristin Cantrell, owner/CEO, Cap Cities/Seven Mountains Media. She shared some insights with Radio Ink.
Radio Ink: How can an independent owner compete with a corporate radio owner?
Cantrell: Our experience shows that we can move faster on new opportunities. The gap from ideation to execution is narrower, with fewer layers to navigate. We generally have stronger and deeper personal relationships in the communities we serve, which makes our book of business more resilient through market fluctuations. We have more of a taste for risk than those who are responsible to shareholders.
Radio Ink: As an independent owner how do you compete for a piece of the ad revenue pie?
Cantrell: I think you need to bake a different kind of pie. Our new pie has additional revenue silos (creative services & digital) that make great ingredients for a new pie. A SUPER-SIZED PIE that has plenty of servings for all. And we’re never finished perfecting the recipe. It’s a never-ending process.
Radio Ink: What size markets are good for independent owners and why?
Cantrell: I prefer markets 250 and smaller. County populations of 50,000 – 90,000 seems to be our sweet spot, and I think that is because we have the ability to connect with more people in person, both listeners and advertisers. If you have a staff of 12 people and only so many hours in a day, you can only cover so much ground. The smaller the market, the more terrain you can cover with the people you have, and still maintain a personal experience for the end user.
Radio Ink: On September 23, the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals tossed out media ownership rules that had been approved by the Federal Communications Commission in 2017. How will that affect independents?
Cantrell: This is a sticky one. Of course, as an independent owner, I would like to have options that benefit our portfolio. However, with cross ownership for example, I don’t have to own the newspaper to work with my colleagues at the paper. I don’t need to own the TV station. Competition is healthy and productive. A diversity of voice in the media landscape is a worthwhile goal. If cross ownership results in homogenization of content and limits perspective for our audience, I think that is a disservice to our country.
Radio Ink: In general, what should a potential independent owner be looking at before investing in radio?
Cantrell: 1. The opportunity for growth that justifies the investment. Where can we improve and what can we add to ensure growth and profitability?
2. The condition of the physical facilities of the radio station.
3. Will the market we are considering add or detract from our company goals and culture? Is it a good fit?
Don’t miss the rest of what Kristin Cantrell has to say about why smaller can be better and more profitable in the new year, exclusively at Forecast 2020. She will be joined by Jonathan Brewster, CEO, Cherry Creek Media, and Tomas Martinez, owner/CEO, Solmart Media, in a session led by Erica Farber, President/CEO, Radio Advertising Bureau.