Respectfully in response to Jim La Marca’s comments on supply and demand (3/4/08 RBR #44): It is refreshing to hear a buyer complain about increased rates that seem to come from “nowhere.”
For the past 7 ½ years as a radio account executive I have been held hostage to the budgeted CPPs from buyers that seem to be pulled from thin air. During books where my stations have ranked well, the buyers choose a random book where the ratings are lower and I will be “forced” to lower my rates if I want to be considered for the buy. However when the ratings come back around and my stations are looking better than the others I cannot raise my rates (back to where they should be) because the client’s budget is flat from the previous year or quarter. Each side of the buyer/seller relationship has its own pressures but don’t ask a station to submit for women when it’s really an adult buy just to drive the rates down on the stations. You are doing your client a disservice by looking at incorrect numbers and taking advantage of your sales rep. I know when this is happening and as they say “you can catch more flies with honey.”
Regarding “supply and demand,” my stations in Norfolk work very hard so as not to bump clients for those who paid more at the last minute. We do this by charging the appropriate rates for the time being bought. We know in advance what weeks and months sell out and are actually willing to give you a deal on weeks that have less demand. However most buyers cannot be flexible to purchase alternate weeks, everyone wants to be on during high listener times. In the end it’s the direct clients that make out. In pressured circumstances I have offered lower rates during high supply months but with the disclaimer that they will be bumped for those paying the rate. My experience has been that buyers/clients are more unhappy when their low charge spot doesn’t run than when they are paying a little more for a specific time and the assurance that all spots will run as ordered.
During this time supply has been up as you mentioned, as a result I have lowered my rates. We are all dealing with the same economy.