Pending Business: Reimagining How News/Talk is Sold

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp


PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Maybe it’s time take a minute and reimagine how news/talk radio is sold. I am serious. Because your company is offering audio options like:

1) Fight clutter with less inventory.

2) Offer host-read endorsements.

3) On-demand.

4) No appointment necessary to listen.

5) Globally accessible.

6) Archived for several years.

7) Co-promoted by friendly guests who have multitudes of loyal fans.

8) Stop the show and finish it when you want.

9) Could be topically hyper-targeted….pets, financial, legal, crime, etc.

10) No time constraints on show length.

11) Valuable data capture.

Chances are you are still pitching the news/talk format the same way you did when podcasting was still a rumor. Is anyone still wondering why podcast ad sales are exploding, while news/talk radio is proud to be hitting 2019 levels?

When it comes to updating the way we sell to hit advertiser’s goals — as well as the image of the news/talk format itself — we are dinosaurs.

We need to wake up and smell the coffee; we are looking very tired.

Let’s try two easy self-starter questions:

  • Why does every hour of a talk show have the same inventory? Ask a manager to connect with a successful music station programmer and discuss hours that have varying commercial loads. Maybe your market is different, but when I managed in a market where several radio stations were playing the same songs, we needed to stand out. Floating inventory clocks were developed and that station is still winning to this day. If your station competes with another news/talk outlet in town, why not change up hourly inventory, adjust rates and offer your advertiser a unique environment with more share of voice. Too radical? T-Rex is stomping down the block.
  • How regularly does a nationally syndicated talent join a sales meeting? For 10 years we made sure at least one of our nationally syndicated hosts met our local team and participated in a local event. The sellers’ enthusiasm and energy level on calls jumped incrementally, and so did sales. When was the last time the team met a true radio celebrity and relayed the excitement to a sponsor? Or are you still using the boilerplate pitch material from the syndicator’s website? Zoom and teams have made it a lot easier to do a “radio sales tour” for big-name talent. Still cynical? That’s Stegosaurus pounding at the door.

We all get rocked into a comfort zone. Make sure that you are not caught sleeping in that rocker when it comes time to win the business!

Steve Lapa is the president of Lapcom Communications Corp. based in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Lapcom is a media sales, marketing, and development consultancy. Contact Steve Lapa via email at: