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A 25-Year Secret Revealed


My clients across America currently air 52-week schedules on more than 700 stations, so it can reasonably be said that Ive spent a few hundred million dollars buying airtime during the past 25 years. But Ive never explained how the stations are selected. Today Im going to reveal all.

Does it surprise you that I have no idea of the spot rates on any of the 700 stations we buy? I dont know the spot rates because I dont care about them. And I care about cost-per-point even less.

Advertisers think and talk about spot rates because radio salespeople think and talk about spot rates. This is due to the fact that sales managers think and talk about spot rates, because owners think and talk about spot rates. This is strange to me because no advertiser has ever wanted to buy a spot. If advertisers wanted spots, theyd always be happy after their schedules aired. But theyre not always happy, are they? This is because their secret desire is for your listeners to know about them, their company, their products and services, and how those products and services can impact the world of your listener if your listener will only give them a chance. This requires good copy and a schedule that delivers frequency and consistency.

Ill take responsibility for the copy, but Im counting on you to deliver frequency and consistency.

I rely on excellent salespeople in radio. But the qualities that define a salesperson as excellent to me will probably surprise you.
1. Excellent salespeople listen and try to understand what youre saying.
2. They believe you when youre telling the truth.
3. They would rather hear the media buyers sales pitch than have the media buyer listen to theirs.
4. Excellent salespeople send you the TAPSCANs you requested instead of the ones theyd prefer you to see.
The following criteria may seem incomplete and overly simplistic to you. They might appear to be horribly full of holes. So be it. But please keep in mind that my clients tend to become huge successes, and they stay with my firm for decades. My income is tied strictly to the growth of my clients, and I tend to put the entire ad budget into radio. Media mix doesnt exist in my world.

So far, so good, right? Heres the part I warned you about:

1. Formats, demos, and qualitative data are largely irrelevant.
2. At least two-thirds of all the stations in a market would be a perfect fit for my advertiser, no matter who that advertiser might be.
3. Format will never get a station included in a buy, but it will occasionally cause them to be excluded.
4. All advertisers air a typical week 52 weeks a year.
5. All TAPSCANs must reflect adults 18+ for a one-week schedule. (Were paying for all your listeners, so we want to know exactly how many youll deliver. Im not just trying to reach my target customer. Im trying to reach all my customers influencers their friends and family, co-workers and acquaintances. Everyone counts.)
6. I want to see persons in every TAPSCAN, not ratings points or shares.
7. The components of this typical week the number of ads, the days of the week, and the times of day will be chosen and submitted by the radio station salesperson, based on the following criteria:
The typical week must achieve at least a 3-frequency in a diary market. In a PPM market, we might consider a 2.5-frequency if there are no better options within our budget. But every tenth of a point above 2.5 wins the seller extra consideration. This typical week frequency is our biggest non-negotiable.
Net reach in persons for the one-week schedule is the second thing we look at.
Cost of this one-week schedule is then multiplied by 52 to determine cost per year.
Cost per year is divided by the one-week net reach to create the only metric that really matters. We call this metric, cost per person/per year.
Broad rotators are never allowed. The meridians a daypart cannot span are 6 a.m., 7 p.m., and midnight. 6 a.m.-7 p.m. is an acceptable daypart. 5 a.m.-7 p.m. is not acceptable because it crosses the 6 a.m. meridian. 5 a.m.-10 a.m. is not acceptable for the same reason. 9 a.m.-8 p.m. is not acceptable because it crosses the 7 p.m. meridian. 7-p.m-midnight is OK. Noon to 4 p.m. is OK. Midnight to 6 a.m. is OK. Never cross the meridians in your dayparts.

Roy H. Williams is president of Wizard of Ads Inc. E-mail:

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Maybe there's a "ballpark" figure of occasions-per-week that matches the daypart requirements and achieves the frequency-goal.(?)

- Ronald T. Robinson
(4/10/2013 1:12:31 PM)
Always enjoy the info from The Wiz!

I wish we HAD the TAPSCAN info... our market is not rated. Sioux Falls, SD is big enough to BE rated, but the two big companies here decided to quit buying the numbers.

My wife and I started the ONLY locally owned station about three years ago. There have never been ratings since our inception.

I have paid to have telephone surveys done to see how we're doing (pretty darn good) but we do not have the same data.

Any advice for MY situation?

- John Small

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