Ask and You Just Might Receive


(By Rick Fink) Whether you’ve been in the media sales game for six months or 60 years, one of the battle cries has always been, “Get more 52-week business on the books.” There are two main reasons why stations don’t have more “52-week” business or annual contracts on the books.

Now, I may ruffle a few feathers here, but before we discuss these reasons, I suggest being very careful with using the verbiage of “52 weeks”. Not only does it scare the business owner, but the media rep as well. Let’s be honest, for the most part, out of the small to medium-sized businesses we work with, a large majority cannot afford an “effective” 52-week schedule. Instead of referring to it as 52-week business, try 12-month or annual contracts. It doesn’t sound nearly as long and is less intimidating to all involved.

So, back to the two main reasons why stations don’t have more 52-week advertising contracts on the books:

Reason #1: It’s simple, we don’t ask or present them. Rarely will a business owner say, “Instead of this 3-month schedule, can you show me what an annual agreement would look like?” A large majority of proposals presented to clients are anything but 12 months. Instead, we present monthly and quarterly packages and schedules, and if we get crazy, we might shoot for a six-month schedule. By simply preparing and asking for annuals, you are sure to increase the number you sell. Ask for them!

So why do we present more short-term proposals and contracts instead of 12-month or even 2-year contracts?

Reason #2: Media reps don’t have the confidence to ask. This can be attributed to many things, but I might suggest that the main reason is that they have not been taught or trained on how to make radio work, and therefore are hesitant to present something that they don’t believe in.

Taking action and implementing a plan to do something about reason #2 will dramatically affect reason #1.

Simply putting a 12-month schedule together is not the answer. To make radio or any medium work, we must first understand why and how to make it work. Do you or your reps understand “strategy”, what it means, and how it can have a major positive impact on a business’ advertising success? Once they understand “strategy,” their confidence will soar!

Do they understand how to craft a strong message or are they simply “writing ads” that have little impact on the consumer? Once they understand “strategy” they will be able to write and craft better messages.

There’s more to it than just strategy and message, but being able to talk the talk and walk the walk will increase the response to ads, and again, ultimately increase the confidence of media reps. Media reps that understand how and why radio works will have more confidence in their products and ultimately will present and sell more annual contracts.

It really is that easy! If you want more annual contracts, ASK… and you just might receive!

NEVER Stop Learning – Get Better Every Day!

Rick Fink from ENS Media can be reached at 605-310-2062 or at [email protected]. Read Rick’s Radio Ink archives here.


  1. Annual contracts are in theory a good idea, but outdated thinking. There is not even one reason presented in this column, as to how the advertiser benefits by signing an annual contract. What is the benefit to them? … There is no longer consistent inventory demand or rate pressure. Many stations just make their breaks longer, on those rare occasions now when inventory is tight. So an advertiser no longer needs to commit to long term contracts to avoid “rate increases.” And other than that, what is the benefit to an advertiser to commit to an annual?

  2. I spent the bulk of my career in national television which relied heavily on the upfront model where advertisers commit to a year long budget, with cancellation options and a potentially discounted price. When a move forced me out of New York and into a local market, I was shocked to see that the upfront model did not exist in local media. When I suggested cutting some “upfront” deals in the local market, management reacted as if it were the worst idea they ever heard. Cancellation options? What if they cancel? My response of “what if they don’t buy anything in 3Q next year, wouldn’t you rather go into next year with 50% booked business than 0%? Never got a good response to that question.


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