Pending Business: Local Host vs Facebook

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp


PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — What is with the plethora of bar graphs showing us what we already know? Do we really need another thermometer “Why listeners consume radio/audio” graph?

I guess we do need another study for the tidbit that is the premise behind hundreds of thousands of daily newscasts. This all started with a caveman pounding out the news on a log, then discovering fire, realized smoke signals attracted a bigger audience and the concept of results from a newscast was established. Maybe some of us are still at the campfire, or still selling like it.

It was high time I updated my premise. Let’s see how sellers sell in the new world of constant COVID reminders, bad-news storylines, crashing economy and storm season.

“Should the CPM for a host-read commercial be higher or lower than an ad on Facebook?” After all, Facebook is the global standard for sharing what’s going on in the world while generating billions of dollars in advertising.

I reached out to proven sellers and managers, men and women of all market sizes, all first round draft picks. Once we got past the, “it isn’t fair to compare,” the responses fell into three categories:

  • The basics — Credibility, personal touch, and audience trust connection with the host should drive a higher CPM than Facebook.
  • Scale — The sheer numbers equal a non-starter driving the Facebook CPM
  • Client-sponsor relationship is the secret sauce driving the host-read CPM.

The responses were honest, but revealing a one-step-removed from real world metrics. The realities of CPM comparison can and should be debated and dissected regularly. Even non-Nielsen subscribers should consider a comparative exercise. Nobody sells in a vacuum, especially radio/audio reps.

My work allows me a fact-based view of the CPM analytics driven by the sales of the host-read commercial. Chances are your managers have more input into price points, than you the seller. But being on the front lines, does your presentation still feel like you’re at the campfire with that caveman? Check your most recent talent sales piece. Do you see any reference to your talent’s social/digital media accomplishments? You may think it doesn’t matter, because that does not drive the CPM. Today and tomorrow, it does matter. Because social media is a huge revenue engine driving today’s media world. But here is the good news. Most talk radio hosts with a competitive AQH also connect into a marketable social media base. This may require some new thinking and packaging in your sales approach. We’ve come a long way since those smoke signals. Now it’s up to you to show how far.

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: