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Laurie Kahn

The Radio Times Are A-Changin'


This is a significant year for us as it marks our 20th anniversary! Through two recessions, consolidation and many other changes, we are happy to still be serving the advertising industry.

As I reflect on changes I have seen since 1993, here is what the radio industry was like then:

o   Consolidation was creating cluster selling. There were lots of bumps in the road for managers trying to figure out how to put together teams from sellers who used to compete and came from different cultures.

o   There is still a line out the door of people wanting to go into radio sales.

o   Hiring was much more "gut" oriented; we didn’t have the tools to profile or know about effective interviewing, needless to say, turnover was high but that was ok as there were more where that came from!

o   Cell phones were scarce, the size of a shoe box and primarily in cars.

o   The Internet was for geeks and you needed codes and patience to connect.

o   Messages were on pink slips.

o   "New Media" was Cable.

o   "Out of Home" meant tabletops at bars and restaurants.o   There were numerous rep firms.

o   "NTR" was either co-op or vendor money and, by the way, we were being trained in how to go after those dollars.

o   There were multiple "sales assistants" on staff to type presentations.

o   Information was faxed or delivered in person! Sellers picked up creative!

o   People accepted that they would relocate at least once to further their career so relocation was not an issue.

o   Media companies only wanted to hire "one of their own"; it was very difficult to move from one platform* to another (* we didn’t call them platforms either!)

o   There was lots more travel and airline tickets were in carbon and on paper!

o   Suits were a given! Casual was a bonus for some on Fridays and meant an open-necked shirt without a tie.
Lots of changes. But through it all, radio remains a strong, viable "platform" in which to work, to educate and to offer community assistance. There can still be rewarding careers and room to grow. But as with everything, change will continue and we all have to be on top of it to survive.

Laurie Kahn is Founder and President of Media Staffing Network and can be reached at 480-306-8930 or via e-mail at Visit the Media Staffing Website.

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