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Jumping Off The Bridge


Roy Williams says, The risk of insult is the price of clarity." 

To be clear, I dont have a lot of sympathy for stations that have not grown their revenues significantly in the new media environment.

Are you insulted yet?

Radio sales suffer from the "Im okay-youre okay syndrome." In other words, because our industry as a whole is experiencing flat or limited growth, its somehow become acceptable to not generate extraordinary revenue growth.

Remember when you were a kid and you did something you shouldnt have and tried to justify your mistake by saying everyone else did it? Your mother probably said something like, If everyone jumped off the bridge would you do that too?

I see radio stations and account executives leaving money on the table in virtually every market  Ive visited across North America.

If you dont believe me, ask any sales manager worth her salt, If you could invest two full days a week on the street yourself, would you be able to generate some new business?

The answer would be a resounding Yes!

Why cant we invest in salespeople to make them as good as, or better than, those sales managers?

By any measure, (reach, time-spent, influence, cost effectiveness, and others) radio does not receive its fair share of ad budgets, let alone capture a superior share that a top-notch sales effort could produce.

The opportunity we have in radio has never been greater. Even the most aggressive new media forecasters predict the lions share of local ad budgets, approximately 75 percent, will still go to traditional media for the foreseeable future.

And currently, print (including newspapers), direct mail, yellow pages, flyers, catalogues, brochures, and more, capture the lions share of that lions share.and they are totally vulnerable!

The Internet is electronic print. It has replaced expensive print production and delivery costs with much less expensive and instantly updateable and deliverable alternatives, leaving more money on the table for radio in an electronic media mix.

When we delivered the "Electronic Age" message to the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters, Dick Lewis, regional vice president of Clear Channel Baton Rouge, said, I was very impressed with Waynes message, particularly in light of the new digital media we face. It is a presentation on radio that inspires and positions us correctly against the newspaper, yellow pages, social media, and search media. It is information and positioning that every seller and advertiser should be aware of.

Yet only a few have invested the time to hear and use the message to capture money from outdated print media.

Focusing on reducing "the cost of sale" has blinded many organizations to "the cost of no sale"!

Most would agree that the image of the typical car salesperson is not exemplary professional selling. Yet, in most markets, the top car salesperson earns more than the top radio salesperson.

Most stations compensation plans do not attract the cream-of-the-crop-sales talent, and only a few stations invest in training their account executives how to sell radio as part of an integrated media package in the Electronic Age.

Im appalled at the way some stations commoditize our business with "inventory clearance sales," creating the impression we have a pile of something no one wants, so were discounting it.

Jon Pole, president of My Broadcasting Corporation, said, If you have 10 problems, and one of them is a sales problem, you really only have one problem.

Generating extraordinary revenues will solve all of your other problems.

At ENS Media Inc. we say, Generating extraordinary revenues requires extraordinary creativity, extraordinary effort, and extraordinary investment.

Most stations dont launch extraordinary initiatives, they just keep on doing what theyve been doing, or less. And you know Einsteins definition of insanity is Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Some are looking to HD radio, streaming, or in-house digital products to bail them out of their downward spiral. And while these ventures can add to radios viability, our strongest U.S.P. (unique selling proposition) still remains to be the intrusive and emotional power of sound in the electronic media mix. 

If youre not offended yet, congratulations. Youre probably one of the few who wont jump off of the bridge with the rest and you will capture revenue increases above the industry norm with extraordinary revenue initiatives!

Wayne Ens is president of ENS Media Inc,  producer of the SoundADvice radio e-marketing system and the Winning in the New Media Economy revenue development system. He can be reached at

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