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First Mediaworks


5/28/01 A Song For The Unsung Heroes
Which is more important: your programming department or your sales department? As you already know, the honest, genuine and true answer to that question depends entirely on whom you ask. Your reps and your jocks will each tell you that their department is the most important because, without them, the other would have nothing. But much of Radio today hangs on the ethereal perceptions of Wall Street; and on Wall Street, everyone answers that question in exactly the same way, "The sales department is more important, of course. It doesn't matter what you're selling as long as you sell enough of it."

Wall Street is a world unto itself. With gold-tipped canes, top hats and blazing smiles, Mel, Lowry, Lew, Larry and Jeff are a blur of singing and dancing. Sometimes, the stock analyst will clap and cheer for an encore. Other times, our boys get the hook. Stock prices go up; stock prices go down. That's Wall Street. There's no business like show business.

The economy has slowed, and advertising sales are down, but Radio is not nearly as down as other media. Statistically, Radio should have fallen at the same rate as everyone else, right? But it didn't. Thank God for Radio's Unsung Heroes.

Who are these amazing heroes? They are the people who are sidestepping failure during this difficult down-cycle. The unsung heroes are the people who have picked up the pace so that Mel, Lowry, Lew, Larry and Jeff will have something to sing about. These unsung heroes are the tread on the tire, leaving a bit of themselves behind whenever the sales accelerator is recklessly jammed to the floor, yet they never fail to perform. After being lied to, kicked, beaten, scolded, pressured and rejected, the unsung heroes go back on the streets with minds like titanium. They're bulletproof.

Ask me which is more important, sales or programming, and I won't be able to answer you; I don't believe anyone can. But I can definitely tell you this: Mel, Lowry, Lew, Larry and Jeff owe a pint of blood to each of hundreds of unsung heroes who are leaving a little bit of themselves behind on the streets each day. Bev Virgil in Bloomington, IL, transformed a relationship with an allergist into a $21,000 order for Citadel. Radio Wayne Award-winner Dawn Jones turned an idea for a car dealer into a $47,000 order for Clear Channel in Raleigh. Larry Carstensen took an idea to John ElwayAutoNation and Quality Auto Sound and turned it into a $250,000 sale for Denver's KYGO. Say it out loud, "A quarter-million bucks." No, I want you to go one step further I want you to applaud.

Mel, Lowry, Lew, Larry and Jeff, if you have the integrity that I believe each of you has, you'll take a quiet moment, right now, to applaud these kids who are bleeding in the trenches for you. Will you give a little skin from your palms of your hands, right now, to all the Bevs, Dawns and Larrys who are pounding the pavement to give you a song to sing for Radio on Wall Street? Without them and their song, all you'd have is just a smile and a dance.

Can you hear their applause, Unsung Heroes? That applause, that skin, is for you. You know who you are.


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