(By Charlie Sislen) My mother taught me to appreciate the good that comes my way, and to do whatever I can to keep it coming. This is especially true in difficult times.
The broadcasting industry, like many others, has had an extremely difficult 20 months. The quick collapse of retail spending, restaurant patronage, and event attendance in 2020 slowed the revenue spigot. While that money is slowly returning, it’s important to remember the opportunities that COVID brought with it.
One of the biggest opportunities that resulted from the pandemic was the emergence of institutional dollars. Many of these dollars originated from the federal government and were aimed at getting people tested and/or vaccinated. Did you receive some of those dollars? If so, you are a step ahead.
It’s important to recognize that government institutions see radio as an ideal outlet to reach their target. Radio has the ability to deliver a mass message and also to target specific segments of the population.
While COVID dollars may be diminishing, we as broadcasters should continue to pursue the institutional revenue stream. What other initiatives does the government need to inform the public about?
Much of the recent increase in COVID-related radio campaigns came from the federal government, but states, counties, and local municipalities may need to get their messages out as well. Be the vehicle that can help reach those groups. Whether it’s government assistance during a disaster or recruitment to hire staff, radio is a great way for government agencies to reach their target.
As in all new business deals, it’s often difficult to find the person who decides where the money is to be placed. If your station received some of these institutional dollars, you may already have contacts that can help you. If you do, or when you find new contacts, it’s important to present radio and your station’s advantages in a clear and professional manner. And when that first order comes in, nurture it so it will grow and continue.
Radio needs more than just institutional dollars, but adding this source of revenue can make a difference in both strong and weak times.
Charlie Sislen is a partner at Research Director, Inc. He can be reached at 410-956-0363 or by e-mail at [email protected]