Fix These 8 Big Mistakes And Watch Your Radio Revenue Grow


(By Loyd Ford) What if you could collect only the biggest mistakes that create revenue drag and avoid them in your behavior and the behaviors of your team? Here are 8 of the biggest mistakes we see that negatively impact local radio revenue.

  1. Don’t focus on continuous recruiting of salespeople. Recruiting is a tough business. If you only do recruit when you need someone, you will become desperate, but you’ll also know 90% less than someone who is always recruiting about where the best talent is in your market. Oh, and if you don’t have an opening, you can still recruit.
  2. Keep reducing your footprint. When our business got involved with the stock market and private equity, it became popular to roll almost regularly to reduction of force and efficient behaviors designed to save money. There is not a single thing wrong with being efficient and saving money. However, too much of a good thing destroys the very ability of a radio brand to continue being a brand at all. When Steve Martin talked about “getting small” in the 1970s, it had nothing to do with growth. Getting smaller now will not clear the path for growth. It will clear the path to death.
  3. Don’t continuously educate and train your salespeople. Some managers (and even radio owners) think training salespeople is a drag and they avoid it like the plague. Do that long enough and your revenue starts to look like donuts (zeros).
  4. Focus on the parts of radio you like vs. focusing on improving the process of selling. This is a tempting business because we think of ourselves as part of entertainment (we are in the advertising business) and humans are always tempted to gravitate to the things they enjoy vs. what requires discipline. Helping your sales team improve their sales process will grow your business. If you want to be a part of the entertainment business and do well in our business, entertain your sellers with an easier process so they get rewarded more often for creating the result you need: More revenue.
  5. Don’t focus on customer experience. If you’ve ever been a frustrated customer, you know what I mean here. Still, so little time is spent on customer or even consumer experience in our business today that we’re fortunate to have a good business at all. Take this as a warning. Focus on both your customer experience and consumer experience before it is too late.
  6. Don’t think culture is important. So much focus on money. Of course, that’s easy, isn’t it? Believe it or not, the production of a great culture will help you grow more revenue, but it will also create additional opportunities for your business that don’t exist in a place where people just go to work (and those opportunities will turn into even more revenue).
  7. Think about accomplishment as being more important than people. This one is tough because every business likes to focus on accomplishment (and we all should be doing that), but placing accomplishment ahead of people is a misunderstanding of how it works. We can accomplish nothing great alone. Think about it. Truly great accomplishments take a team. Taking care of your people helps you retain the best talent. It helps you create more consistent success. It helps you grow revenue and profit. The opposite destroys you.
  8. Don’t focus on where the money goes. This is a big miss for a lot of people. A buy you always get goes away. What do you do? Go sell something to replace it, right? Okay. Do that!  But find out where the money went. Market managers and sales managers that always focus individuals on the team on where money is going are consistent winners. And it’s not just when buys don’t happen. The best leaders (and sellers) focus on where money is being spent. I share with clients all the time that no matter what disruption occurs, money doesn’t stand still. It moves. There is a recession. Money moves to where it can earn the most. War? Same thing. Hurricanes, tornados, and high interest rates? Same thing. Money moves to where it can earn the most. Somebody is making more money right now while you are reading this because they know where money is moving today. Focus your sellers consistently on where money is being spent now. Do your homework, communicate that intel rapidly, and your revenue will rise.

We are in the advertising business, but to be great at generating the most revenue, you must be in the people business. Avoiding mistakes is impossible. Good things and bad things happen to everyone, but you can focus on avoiding these big 8 mistakes and your revenue will rise in good times and bad.

Loyd Ford is president and chief strategic officer at Rainmaker Pathway Consulting Works (RPC). They help local radio with ratings and revenue. Reach him anytime at 864.448.4169 or [email protected]. Read Loyd’s Radio Ink archives here.


  1. I’m so tempted to tear this apart bit by bit, but we know from the past few decades that the majority of what’s here is what’s been going on in our “industry”. Loyd’s assessment is right on. Radio’s existence was to let the audience know the products they could buy-and the reasons to buy them. Nothing’s changed here-but the process has been so muddied up that it seems we’re spending more time pointing out what’s wrong than ways to do it properly. An advertiser with a great offer for the consumer will note a great response and see that the electronic media still works. Coke and the Golden Arches aren’t #1 in their category because of shoddy marketing. They know what the consumer wants and they give it to them on a consistent basis. Need a benchmark? There it is(!).


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