Stirring the Radio Pot


(By Buzz Knight) I stirred the pot on my LinkedIn the other day about a topic near and dear to my heart: things that radio stations should stop doing. This post brought out tons of passionate responses about radio’s frequent lack of quality control and rate integrity.

Here is the post as I wrote it:

I wish the radio business would consider stopping the following because it either sounds terrible and/or devalues the existing work:

Infomercials – Unless someone makes an effort for these to sound acceptable, please kill these. They aren’t getting ratings, and they must be bringing in minimal dollars.

Fire sales – or anything that reeks of giving a deep discount to clients. This is like putting a knife in the concept of rate integrity.

Bad quality commercials of any type – but in particular ones that make clients read copy sound bad because of poor quality. Bad listener experience and bad results.

Take a step back and make rate integrity and high quality your 2024 marching orders.

One response from Deanna Poole, who – with full disclosure – was an excellent salesperson when I worked for Greater Media and Beasley for our Philadelphia cluster got me thinking about reprinting this piece for Radio Ink with some additional comments.

“I was someone who was on the sales side for over 20 years, I can tell you that, while infomercials are cringe-worthy, they bring in a ton of cash, and that is the only reason stations do it. Everyone hates it, quite frankly, including sales, but the amount of money they bring in cannot be ignored. If you have a station that is killing it in ratings, you don’t need them. Rarely will you see a strong station accept that business. But a station struggling in ratings often has no choice. The same goes for anything that seems to be giving a deep discount to clients.”

“You typically don’t hear this stuff on strong stations, but middle of the pack and below are fighting for every dollar they can get in a very splintered advertising environment. As for bad quality commercials, there are no excuses, except for manpower. When you have one person doing production for three radio stations, the bandwidth often cannot accommodate the quality of commercials. Not to mention one person doing traffic for four stations, and one person doing continuity for the entire cluster. What you should wish for is that the radio business invests more in radio stations, personnel, and talent across the board. All of your above grievances will then go away.”

Deanna’s comment about infomercials bringing in a ton of cash got me thinking about flipping the narrative for this update – if infomercials are something of a revenue necessity, then shouldn’t stations take an aggressive approach to making them better or at least listenable?

It’s typically a hard enough sell to get listeners to stick around for these long-winding pitches based on the topic alone. But why do so many also have to be plagued by poor production and every basic mechanical problem under the sun?

Poor sound quality. Lack of resetting what the show is about coming out of breaks. No teasing ahead to make people stay around longer. No storytelling skills (or poor storytelling skills at best). Do we really think this is something the target audience of the station finds interesting? Please.

The business is at a critical juncture where chasing either audience or advertisers away is a scary proposition. If we take a continuous improvement strategy to EVERYTHING we do, we stir the pot of change with meaningful action.

Buzz Knight can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]. Read Buzz’ Radio Ink archives here.


  1. It’s a format, Buzz. They’ll pay great money for placement regardless of ratings. So, all infomercials all the time. It’s campiness could even generate cume. Best part? Expenses are nil.


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