First, congratulations on the Radio Advertising Bureau’s presentation of one of the finest, most useful sales conferences in many years. This week’s "Bold Signals" was excellent!
Second, the "One Voice" campaign undertaken in conjunction with the NAB is an excellent initiative in the effort to deliver a more powerful and consistent message about Radio to the advertising community and the general public.
Third, the concept of the alliance the RAB has created with Katz and Interep could be a step in the right direction of making Radio easier to buy. Frankly, however, as described at the conference earlier this week and in the press since, the alliance doesn’t represent true unity in the Radio industry. It is true Katz and Interep are the largest Radio sales representatives — but they are not the only ones. For example Regional Reps Corp. has been representing small market stations for more than 50 years. The Tacher Company and Commercial Media Sales are Radio rep firms with long histories as well.
More significant, the comments I’ve seen in the press attributed to Katz’ Bonnie Press and Interep’s Sheila Kirby (who deserves kudos for the work she and her committee did in creating Bold Signals) portend only limited unity! Press suggested "speaking with one voice" means a "single source execution" (by Katz and Interep exclusively?) intended to answer the complaint Radio is too hard to buy. According to Kirby, the two companies have "landscaped these accounts very thoroughly" to determine which firm should interact with which advertiser, and "we need to get more of their spending on our properties…" The quotes leave open to question how much unity will be felt by the thousands of stations (and their rep firms) not represented by Katz and Interep.
As members of long standing and evangelists for the Radio Advertising Bureau, we at Regional Reps applaud your goals for the "One Voice" campaign and the alliance. We fully support the need to make Radio’s advantages more top of mind and our product easier to buy. Based upon what we’ve heard and read so far, however, this alliance needs some work in order to rise to the level of what you described as a "great show of unity in the Radio industry."
Stuart J. Sharpe, President
Regional Reps Corp.
P.S. As part of increasing Radio’s visibility and visual impact in print, here’s a suggestion: capitalize the word "Radio" in all printed material, e-mails and other RAB printed communication. Urge everyone in our industry to do so. As you often have said, Jeff, "Words are important;" visual images are important as well."TV" stands out in print, so too should Radio!