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Radio Ink Writers

Jeff Schmidt

Starting Over


Do you remember how you felt when you scored your first radio job? Your friends couldnt believe you were in show biz. You were in the mass communications business, working with well-known personalities, getting backstage passes, creating ideas for clients, and learning something new every day. It was fun and you got paid for it!

And what about the first broadcast order you filled out? Was it more exciting than the daily grind today?

I happened to be at a clients station the other day when a listener came in to pick up a prize they had won. One of the stations staff asked if the winner wanted a tour of the station.

I couldnt believe the response. You would think they were just offered an all-expenses paid tour of Europe. Really?! she said excitedly. Ive never been in a radio station before!

At that moment I quietly admitted to myself that I had become so close to the forest that I wasnt in awe of the trees anymore.

Maybe its time for all of us to revisit our careers with the same enthusiasm that I witnessed in that radio listener.

Sure, youve got budget pressures (you used to call them challenges) and your clients are cutting back or demanding competitive proposals and rates. But theres a lot of sizzle to selling radio that many of us have forgotten.

Are you using the emotional power of music or the compelling sound of the human voice in spec spots to put the excitement and sizzle into your presentations?

Have you offered the services of your personalities to M.C. events at your clients club? Is your station aloof or do you offer your audience station tours like the station I was at?

Do you offer your clients opportunities to sponsor exciting on-air contests?

While you might think all of the buzz today is around new media, theres a lot to be said for local people being able to call their favorite station and talk to a real live person.

Your music inspires them, and your information, contests, and humor still evoke conversations around the water cooler. Radio advertising is just as effective today as the day you started in the biz. The only difference is you now have more competitors vying for your sponsors attention, and your biggest competitor, print, is hugely vulnerable. To win, your presentations need to be more professional and more exciting.

Your clients have a lot of media choices today. And you do have to deliver the competitively-priced steak they want, to get the sale. But if youll fire yourself and start your new career with the enthusiasm you had when you launched your radio career, the sizzle you add to your steak can be the tie-breaker to help advertisers choose radio over another media.
P.S. While youre having fun again, Im betting youll also make more calls, your enthusiasm will be contagious, and youll make more sales!

Wayne ENS is president of ENS Media Inc He can be contacted at