Wisconsin Broadcasters Association

What makes a successful station?

Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise. Risking more than others think safe. Dreaming more than others think is practical. And expecting more than others think is possible! You still need a few things – diligence and compassion – for employees and clients. Intelligence and some guts to do the basics as best as you can, and the perseverance to keep on doing. And getting back to the basics.

Some people think our vocations are doomed. Not so. Some think handing over radio/TV sales to a machine is very clever. Not so. Without delivering ideas to a client; without knowing a client’s needs and without bringing them solutions, nothing will happen. A machine can’t do it. But some owners have been so distracted they think machines are to replace people, not make people produce more which is what Mr. Watson (IBM) told us would happen. Unfortunately much of what some owners are doing might produce higher profits, but our short history teaches us that doesn’t happen either. Two large groups who tried it are ready for bankruptcy.

We serve three audiences: listeners, clients, and employees. Each is as important as the other. Good relationships between and among these groups is paramount. Selling advertising and producing results can be tough. It has daily ups and downs.

So, what makes a successful station? Success does. And how to achieve it? Work hard, think hard, and pay attention to everything around you.

When was the last time your sales manager spent a day or so in-field with salespeople, old and new? It’s not fun for either the manager or the salesperson unless the attitude is fun and educational. But it does produce results. And the client gets to create a better bond with the stations. You are there to solve his/her problems and he/she believes you will. When was the last time your air personalities had an air check? Have you ever tried bringing a client to a sales meeting where you have a bunch of experts at solving marketing problems? It’s magic. Ever take an air personality on a sales call? Those are the people the client listens to every day and is anxious to know them. That could help sell anyone. Ever brainstorm sales problems with program people. They’re pretty normal people and understand the problems and questions being raised. You’ll also soon see how problems between the departments fade away.

When did your management last do an INA (Individual Needs Assessment) with employees? It’s amazing what these will uncover for you and for the employee. At first, they’re not comfortable, but what effort is at first? Some of the best employee changes have come from these meetings. Not elimination of employees, but fulfillment for employees and the company.

A word about ratings: When will we start measuring what will produce results? It’s nice to know how many people are listening – it helps our egos. But doesn’t it make more sense to know how many widgets the client sells? After all, that’s why he/she’s advertising. The expense of ratings (and it’s way overpriced) is not doing its job. They’re based on potential not on successful results. It’s sad that we’ve drifted along all these years with half a loaf and paid through the nose for it. Local clients can tell you how many widgets moved off the shelf.

Our stations have great power in their hands. Passing fancies (digital, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) can’t do it. We can. We can grow businesses. We can make a beginning dentist become someone who has to hire half a dozen more dentists. We can make the smallest credit union the largest home lender in town. We can help a plumbing supply business grow and expand from a small market to several larger ones.

We’ve done it. IT WORKS.