Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Lessons Learned From Small Market Radio

I had the great honor of being invited to speak at the American Advertising Federation Black Hills Chapter monthly luncheon this week in Rapid City South Dakota. I was asked to give my impression on the future of radio and what broadcasters needed to do to be successful. If you know anything about radio people, you know that we love to talk about radio and give our opinions. So I jumped at the opportunity to speak with the group. Although, I didn’t quite think it through when Josh Barsch invited me a few months ago, I did not take into account that it would be snowy and -2 degrees when the plane landed.

Nonetheless, the group in Rapid City was terrific, a great bunch of advertising pros. While I hope that I imparted some relevant and practical information, I realized that we can learn a lot from the pros in the smaller markets.

I had the opportunity to meet Michael and Lisa from a local radio group. They have been at the stations for more than ten years each. They have created great relationships and equity in the market with their clients, non-profits and community leaders. These people get it. They are in the trenches everyday and doing things right. They are big on service and providing value and results to their customers.

Just as in most markets across the country, revenue is down due to the economy but not down nearly as much as it is in the larger markets. I realized that these people are successful, because they are dotting the I’s and crossing the t’s. They are doing the basics and doing it quite well. They don’t rely on a lot of agency / transactional business; they are knocking on doors, the doors of the service categories and local retailers. They are selling ROI not CPP or CPM. Wow, how refreshing. Oh, and by the way, they all seemed passionate about what they were doing too!

Josh and Nicole from the AAF were very gracious and thanked me for speaking. I should be the one thanking them. While I guess I was supposed to be the professor, I was also the student while visiting the Black Hills and for that I am grateful.

Thanks AAF Black Hills Chapter!

And a side note. I was interviewed by the local FOX TV affiliate KEVN. Click here to see they story that ran last night at 10PM in Rapid City.

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