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A Look In The Mirror


Im frustrated and annoyed with many of the managers in radio. We manage the most powerful and persuasive medium in the world and we dont use it to market ourselves! When was the last time you heard anything on a newscast about new research outlining radios role in the new media landscape?

Let me answer: Probably never!

And yet, the news of our strength is often important enough for other media to report.

Look at this excerpt from a recent article in USA Today:" The digital revolution may not be as revolutionary as believed according to a Nielsen 360 Music Study that found listeners more in tune with friends' tips and radio, than blogs and social networking. Results indicate that the airwaves remain a dominant influence; 43% discover music most often through radio, while 13% are alerted to new tunes and acts via friends and relatives and 8% by watching YouTube."

If this kind of news is important enough for other media to publish, shouldnt it be important enough for the benefactors of this news, radio, to publish?

And I seldom see or hear any ads on the air about the power of radio advertising.

Yet daily, Ill pass signs and billboards that say something like, " You just proved signs work." I guess its because the outdoor folks have avails and were sold out.

If you search most station websites, you wouldnt believe they sell advertising. Most sites have nothing about advertising, how to use our media, or even who to contact if you want to advertise.

Our SoundADvice marketing tips and our "Winning in the New Media Economy" advertiser seminars are successfully building stations brands and increasing sales in more than 100 markets across North America and the Caribbean, yet hundreds more stations dont use these proven marketing tools.

Ive actually had radio sales managers tell me, "We cant budget for branding or advertiser education. We need immediate, measurable results that branding cant give us."

Then they claim "accountability" by "measuring" and taking credit for a package blitz to known radio advertisers who were already going to buy radio anyway. Seldom do they actually convert non-advertisers to radio. 

Based upon what I hear, or should I say, dont hear, on the radio about radio around the country, I can only surmise were all happy with the old system of churning through untrained rookie radio reps as our only means of marketing radio and new business development. 

The irony is, there are a few stations around the continent that actually do brand and market themselves very successfully. And even though they face increased competition, they do experience growth, and more importantly, maintain profit margins that would be the envy of almost any other business category.

The catch words in marketing today seem to be "accountable" and "measureable."

Consolidation has caused many companies to be measured at the stock market. The stock market often "measures" performance by EBITDA, (Earnings Before Interest Taxes Depreciation and Amortization), a yardstick that can make a business look good in the short term, even if sales suck. But somewhere down the road, that measure cant continue as the never-ending spiral of cost cutting and sales declines spins out of control.

In our business, the only sustainable "measure" is annual sales and profit margins. Annual sales are a combination of renewal increases and new business development, and sustainable margins can be as much a function of rate integrity as cost control. Its that simple.

And as for "accountable"? Thats what mirrors are for!
If you want to increase your local-direct sales in 2013 and beyond, contact Wayne Ens , of ENS Media Inc. at

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