Checking in With a 2021 Radio Wayne Winner


Nominations for Radio Ink’s Radio Wayne Awards are underway. For three decades the Radio Wayne awards have recognized radio’s best in sales, marketing, and management. In 2021 Shawneen Thompson from WHUR (Howard University in Washington, DC) won for Sales Manager of The Year. We checked in with Shawneen to see how her radio career is doing one year later.

Radio Ink: How has the last year been going for you?
Shawneen Thompson: Working thru COVID has been a roller coaster. The last year was truly a “Who moved my cheese” experience. We’re not done. So the past year has been unlike any year I’ve experienced in the industry but it’s been good because it’s forcing me to move differently. We’ve had to reinvent our approach to educating our clients on how to connect to consumers of today, especially multicultural consumers. Going beyond the basics in all of our approaches is the new standard, not the exception.

Radio Ink: Do you continue to achieve the success you’ve set out to achieve in radio?
Shawneen Thompson: I’m still a work in progress. I’m so grateful for the relationships I’ve established over the years. I realize my mission is to not only elevate my sales team, the clients we serve, and the consumers we touch but also educate the advertising community on the diversity that exists within the Black community, African diaspora, and generation-next.

Radio Ink: Tell us about a few of your proudest successes over the last year?
Shawneen Thompson: The best success over the last year has been leading our team to record-breaking performances. Also, finally being able to penetrate new spaces with our digital offerings and, most importantly, celebrate their accomplishments. COVID taught me to celebrate wins no matter what size. I’m very proud of my team!

This year I established new relationships that have a primary focus on diversity and inclusion. It’s been very rewarding. I’m really proud of being able to penetrate deeper relationships in this needed category and introduce our listeners to brands that have a genuine interest in getting to know our audience.

Radio Ink: Why do you still love being a part of our industry?
Shawneen Thompson: Radio has always been a passion. Growing up all I did was listen to local radio stations. It’s a personal relationship that I’ve had since I was a teenager. I’m grateful to be part of a great medium that has a done a great job re-inventing itself over the years. I love the connection radio has with its communities.

Radio Ink: What advice do you have for sales managers and account executives working hard to be successful in radio today?
Shawneen Thompson: Remember to enjoy what you do! This is a fun industry! You are more than a cost person thousand or a CPP! You bring value no matter the size of your audience! Find your story and don’t be afraid to go beyond the buyer. Establish a genuine relationship at the client level and remember to ask for the business.

Radio Ink: What did it mean to you to win a Radio Wayne award?
Shawneen Thompson: Winning the Radio Wayne award was a wonderful honor. It is an achievement that was a dream come true.

The 30th Anniversary Radio Wayne™ Awards will be celebrated during Radio Ink’s Masters Sales Summit this fall.

Make your Nominations NOW before July 11.


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