As usual, my friend and former boss Ed Christian, has hit the nail on the head (2/29/08 RBR #42). How can we expect advertisers to respect us if we don’t respect what we do?
By lowering our rates and succumbing to unrealistic CPP’s and CPM’s, this has become a low/no growth industry in the larger markets. How can we expect to grow if we keep doing this? What do they say about the definition of insanity…doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results? Well, the results over the last few years speak for themselves.
As for small markets performing better than larger markets since small market operators call on business leaders direct and don’t depend on transactional business…Cherry Creek Radio is one of the largest small market broadcasters in the country. Since our inception in February, 2004 (this month marked our 4th anniversary), we have consistently outpaced the industry by far with strong top line growth that has equated to double digit cash flow increases. We have accomplished this by establishing a sales culture that emphasizes targeting long-term, LOCAL business by demonstrating to our many advertisers that we know how to achieve results for them. In short, we know how to move the needle for our many businesses. My question to Ed and all of my other friends and colleagues who run larger market groups is why can’t we use the same principles in all size markets? Why do we live and die by transactional business that sets artificial cost parameters? Why can’t the larger markets learn from it small market brethren and begin to change the selling process?
In short, the only way to turn around the ENTIRE industry, not just small market radio, is by selling more spots. And the only way to do that is begin a brand new selling process that demonstrates to advertisers, large and small, that we are not a number on a piece of paper, but that we have the ability to move product for them. I challenge our industry leaders to change the focus of their company to developing top-line spot radio growth as opposed to the recent practice of continuous cost cutting. If we don’t grow top-line, large markets are going to be doomed to continued failure. This has to be the emphasis going forward. Nothing else matters!
Cherry Creek Radio