Industry Views

Pending Business: The Endorsement Ad

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
President

The question is simple. The answer took me years of trial and error to come up with.

“How do you set prices for an endorsement ad?”

This simple question came up during a recent interview I did for a sports website. Sellers and managers be forewarned, price must balance the scale with value and selling the value of a true endorsement ad. There’s lots to the digest in that least sentence. The price=value concept, a “true” endorsement, and selling & managing the endorsement ad.

I digress, back to the fresh-from-the-field experience of how to develop a pricing strategy. There are four universal components and a possible fifth and sixth for your consideration.

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Industry Views

Post CES: Technology Trends Update

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

What a week! And what it all means to radio? Simple. Matter-enough to earn a place on the landscape described by Consumer Technology Association VP/research Steve Koenig. This briefing alone was worth the trip. My short-version notes of six bases he tagged…

Enterprise Technology Innovation

  • “Stubborn inflation and rising interest rates.” Yet, historically…
  • Tough times yield innovation, much of which “comes from the smallest startups.” During The Great Recession of 2008-2009, we got 4G mobile broadband, smartphones, and tablets and notebook computers. As a 2023 recession looms: 5G, autonomous systems, connected intelligence, quantum computing.
  • 5G is “upgrading the global economy.”
  • While “supply chains remain vulnerable, chip inventories are rising.”

Metaverse/Web 3.0

  • “The Metaverse is closer than you think. It’s the next generation of the Internet.”
  • “Like the internet in the 1990s, a real trend,” not just the crude video game graphics we’ve seen in Meta’s rollout.
  • Think “shared experiences,” not hard to conceptualize after two years of Zoom.

 

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Industry Views

How Hot Is Podcasting?

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

How hot is podcasting? The topic dominated a CES session billed in broader terms: “The Disruption: Media, Platforms & Advertising.” Panelists – executives from social media, major content brands, and radio mega-groups – also discussed “linear” (live) programming and streaming video. But all kept coming back to podcasting, which iHeartMedia CMO Gayle Troberman characterized as “exploding, driving massive growth in audio.”

Not unexpected, since her company is a major player. But, from the other side of the equation, World Wrestling Entertainment SVP Craig Stimmel acknowledges that, post-pandemic, “habits have changed as to where to go” for media; so “we want to make sure our content is everywhere.” His stars are among celebrities whom podcasting connects with fans in what Troberman describes as “live, human, unscripted conversation with people you come to know;” particularly welcome post-pandemic-shutdown. “The more isolated and alone people feel, the more audio delivers intimacy.”

It’s not a radio show

Every panelist spoke of “authenticity,” rather than the slick, polished texture of traditional AM/FM programming. SXM Media SVP Lizzie Widhelm challenges broadcasters: “How can we let go of our playbook, and walk away from norms that have been comfy-cozy?”

“More creators coming into audio than ever before” from politics, sports, and other walks of life, “to engage more deeply.” Audacy CMO Paul Suchman says that delivers advertisers “super-relevant, contextually relevant” places to tell their stories. So “this is a medium that deserves GREAT creative,” not just audio of a TV spot. “Advertising that gets ‘inserted’” doesn’t work as well as “the deep human connection” of podcaster’s very personal delivery. Thus “the lowest ad-skipping rates of any media.”

Podcasting plusses

Just as music streams offer lots more variety than safe-list FMs, spoken-word podcasting is a topical cornucopia compared to talk radio’s largely political fare.

And panelists ticked-off other advantages podcasts offer advertisers:

  • “Quicker and much less-expensive production than video.”
  • “Lower CPM” ad rates, increasingly attractive as recession likely looms.
  • “Really young, and diverse audiences coming into audio in a big way.”
  • “The audiences you’re not getting on TV anymore.”

“Voice has always been how humans communicate”

Troberman describes the iHeart app Talkback feature, which listeners use to send messages stations play, a tool some of my client stations have built-into their apps.

And this interactivity isn’t just a media thing. Audacy’s Suchman mentioned how drivers now converse with Cadillac’s state-of-the-art dashboard: “The next phase of computing will be voice-driven.” Yet – accustomed as we have become to dealing with supermarket self-checkout and other robots almost everywhere – the “intimacy,” “authenticity,” and “diversity” panelists speak of suggest that, as iHeart’s Troberman reckons, “the future of voice is the future of two-way communication via audio.”

Help yourself!

I’ve been reporting from CES all this week for TALKERS…and for you. You can download five 60-second radio reports at HollandCooke.com.

Holland Cooke (HollandCooke.com) is the author of “Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers, Without Buying Clicks,” available from Talkers books; and “Spot-On: Commercial Copy Points That Earned The Benjamins,” a FREE download; and the E-book and FREE on-air radio features Inflation Hacks: Save Those Benjamins.” HC is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. Follow him on Twitter @HollandCooke

Industry Views

CES2023: Outlandish, Literally

Speech - Facial hair
By Holland Cooke
Consultant

When I say “Hyundai,” you think “car.” But Hyundai Heavy Industries is the world’s largest shipbuilding conglomerate, and they’re here to unveil “Ocean Transformation” strategies to change the way we utilize the sea and marine ecosystem. They’re showing off large replicas of unmanned “future ships” they say will be safer and more economical.

The Dutch company RanMarine Technology – a CES Innovation Award winner – introduces “MegaShark, the Trash Collection Catamaran,” which will bite-into some 200 million metric tons of plastic already in the oceans. We are seeing underwater robots, and we’re hearing about plans to expand living space to the ocean and generate energy there.

 

Legacy Media Disrupted

At CES2004, former radio mogul Mel Karmazin took over Sirius Satellite Radio, eventually merged with XM. Napster came-and-went. And with Amazon Music, Apple Music, Pandora, Spotify, YouTube and others now such faves, I feel lots more comfortable working in news/talk/sports radio than I would in music FM. It could be worse. I used to work at USA Today. The very term “newspaper” now sounds antique.

Don’t take it personally. Kindle and other e-readers disrupted books. The digital camera disrupted film. Enabled by 4G, Uber and Lyft disrupted the taxi industry. What will 5G bring? Stay tuned.

Glass-half-empty: “obsolescence.” Glass-half-full: “disruption,” which CES celebrates each year. And as I and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison have been preaching to anyone-willing-to-listen for the last several decades, the skill set you acquired to do broadcast radio will advantage you in many other media.

 

Daily radio updates, help yourself

I’m reporting from CES all week for TALKERS…and for you. I am voicing daily 60-second radio reports for air through Friday 01/06. You can download them night-before at HollandCooke.com. Air as many times on as many stations as you wish. No password, no further permission needed, no paperwork, no national commercial.

Holland Cooke (HollandCooke.com) is the author of “Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers, Without Buying Clicks,” available from Talkers books; and “Spot-On: Commercial Copy Points That Earned The Benjamins,” a FREE download; and the E-book and FREE on-air radio

Industry Views

Valerie Geller to Present Free Webinar Titled “Never Be Boring”

Media consultant Valerie Geller – president of Geller Media International – is presenting a free seminar for radio and audio salespeople called, “Never Be Boring.” Geller says the four things that participants will learn are: 1) the three mistakes salespeople make, 2) how you can communicate more effectively, 3) how to tell your story and help clients tell their stories, and 4) how to never be boring. You can get more information and register here.

Industry Views

SABO SEZ: Go to Lunch!

By Walter Sabo
Consultant
Host/Producer, Sterling on Sunday

Most business books and advice columns usually offer advice that is purely theoretical, not actionable. Watching the very successful operate in New York media for decades, I began to notice patterns of behavior that often translate to success.  I couldn’t help but be inspired by two fine columns posted in yesterday’s edition of TALKERS written by sales mavins Kathy Carr and Steve Lapa – in addition to a story about Michael Harrison’s on-point prescription for the radio industry’s survival – to throw my two cents in as well.

These tips are targeted to those in the radio business who still work in traditional corporate, office building environments (but can be useful to those who operate from home but still occasionally have to make an appearance downtown):

1. Write congratulatory notes. Kathy Black was the publisher/CEO of USA Today and chairperson of Hearst Magazines. She walks into a room and BOOM, success follows. Every time I earned a new job or was favored in the press, Kathy Black wrote me a handwritten note expressing support.  We weren’t pals, we only met twice. But the notes made me her fan.

2. Go to lunch.  Get out of the building and go to lunch with a co-worker or with a peer from another company. Pay. Now you’re the boss.

3  Go on vacation. You are paid to take the time off. Take the time off. If you don’t you are viewed with suspicion.

4. Take extra credit. When there is an opportunity to work on a new project, grab it.

5. Be presentable. Dress in a manner that would let your boss be comfortable introducing you to your company’s biggest client.

6. Don’t take “personal days.”  Take a vacation day to go to the funeral, but don’t call it a “personal day.”

7. Avoid all interaction with HR.

8. Treat the receptionist with the utmost respect.  That is, of course, if there still is a receptionist.  More on that in my next article.

Oh, one more thing.  I could become poetic about why you never want to attend a company holiday party – but the holidays are over so we’ll save that until next November.

Walter Sabo (a.k.a Walter Sterling) is a media consultant and a longtime radio industry thought-leader. He hosts and produces a network radio show titled “Sterling on Sunday” heard 10:00 pm -1:00 am ET. www.waltersterlingshow.com.   walter@sabomedia.com.

Industry Views

CES2023: Introducing Smellovision and Other Delights

 
By Holland Cooke
Consultant

A week ago, air travel was pretty much an oxymoron. But Southwest got me here just fine, and some hundred thousand other tech buffs are also inbound. Consumer technology is a half-TRILLION-dollar business here in the USA alone. And for those of us in 100-year-old broadcast radio, what’s here is both exciting and humbling.

Media threat assessment

The Daily Mail reports: “BBC could turn OFF its TV and radio channels within a decade.” Its director says they’re “planning for an online-only future beyond 2030.”

“TV” had already morphed into “video” – and “radio” to “audio” – before the pandemic shutdown, which accelerated lots of other trends-already-in-motion.

– Like radio broadcasters, many others are in permanent work-at-home mode, a body blow to “morning drive.”  Among conference sessions here: “Metaverse Meets Office Space.”

– As shopping moves from brick-and-mortar to e-commerce, local retailers need local radio more than ever. The shopping malls that haven’t yet closed are being repurposed into “mixed-use retail/residential” and community colleges and healthcare facilities and other second acts.

– So, yuh, I’m here, to learn how new hardware and software are accommodating listeners’ changing media consumption preferences. And I am encouraged to encounter others (too few) from the radio family who are here too.

Among new media I’m eager to see – and get a whiff of – is “AromaPlayer®, the only system capable of adding scent to your videos.” Yes, smellovision.

Who’s hungry?

Increasingly, everyone. With climate change and population growth challenging our future food supply, CES has scheduled presentations on “Reinventing the Food System for a 10 Billion Person Planet” and “Scaling Towards a Trillion Dollar Alternative Protein Industry” and there’s even “Meals on Mars: The Race to Create Food in Space.”

And why should Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson have all the fun? There’s a session on “Investing In Space.”

Daily radio updates, help yourself

I’m reporting from CES all week for TALKERS…and for you. I am voicing daily 60-second radio reports for air through Friday 01/06. You can download them night-before at HollandCooke.com. Air as many times on as many stations as you wish. No password, no further permission needed, no paperwork, no national commercial. If you can sell a local sponsorship, keep the money.

 Holland Cooke (HollandCooke.com) is the author of “Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers, Without Buying Clicks,” available from Talkers books; and “Spot-On: Commercial Copy Points That Earned The Benjamins,” a FREE download; and the E-book and FREE on-air radio features Inflation Hacks: Save Those Benjamins.” HC is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. Follow him on Twitter @HollandCooke

Industry Views

2023 and Beyond:
Radio Going Forward

During a virtual meeting of the TALKERS editorial board over the holiday break, Michael Harrison outlined a simple prescription for radio to thrive in 2023 and beyond.  Updating an ongoing message that he’s delivered several times in recent years at industry conventions, the trade journal’s founder stated that in order for radio to survive – let alone thrive – in the ever-changing digital era, it must provide the absolute best audio communications available anywhere.

Harrison explained, “Broadway has to provide the absolute best live theater experience in the nation for people to go put up with the cost and hassle of attending. Professional sports leagues must produce a product better than sandlot for people to continually take notice. Hollywood must produce the best movies for people to actual go back to the cinema or pay for streaming.  Real news organizations have to be more credible, reliable and factual than some guy on a computer in his parents’ basement.   In turn, radio must ooze the definition of ‘big time’ through the speakers when it comes to the presentation of audio communications.  The medium and its industry cannot afford on any level – local or national – to be schlock. I don’t care if there are 10 zillion podcasts out there – other than the specialty ones that target extremely limited and niche audiences – the cream of the crop will always come down to a rarified handful.”  According to Harrison, radio has to be “the big-time audio medium with the best information, personalities, talk shows, musical presentation and production values or it will surely perish in the face of the growing onslaught of grassroots digital media.” He concludes, “Only then can it restore the magic and prestige to the word ‘radio’ that has kept the medium alive for the past 100 years – regardless of its current technological platforms or receiving appliances. To use a popular sports phrase, radio controls its own destiny.”

Industry Views

My Top Five Sales Tips to Make 2023 Your Best Year Ever!


By Kathy Carr
President
HCRN

2023 is here and those of us in radio sales have our work cut out for us.  Hope the following tips are helpful to you.

1. Celebrate your client’s joyous moments and victories. It could be the birth of a grandchild, birthday or company expansion. Take time to buy a baby gift, send flowers or even just a card. One in the mail is better, but an electronic message can do the trick as well. I prefer the ones sent via snail mail, because they are always opened. It shows that you made an effort. Back in my early 20s, a colleague pulled out a tattered calendar and asked me if I knew what it was. Of course, I didn’t. She told me this was where she kept her list of clients’ birthdays. I don’t remember her name, but I do remember the tip.

2. Grow your existing client base. One of our top clients for 2023 was one of our more modest buys in 2022. Take the time to listen to everyone and find out what is working (and what isn’t). Then try to match their needs with what you have to offer. Make that difficult trip to visit them in person. You can have a great phone relationship, but there is still nothing like face-to-face. It forever changes the relationship. Zoom is not the same as in-person, obviously. If your customers seem unwilling to meet, suggest lunch. It will be well worth it.

3. Don’t take your long-term clients for granted. Our longest-running advertiser has been with us for more than 25 years. Keep the copy fresh and suggest new marketing ideas.  Those bedrock clients are your greatest strength. Without them, you cannot succeed. As in a marriage, don’t stop trying.  Let them know you value them and care. Call them once a month and not just when the invoice is past due. Email them an article about their business. Wish them a Happy New Year. It’s not too late. Even if it is just a text.

4. Network with your friends. One of our top clients came from a random phone call from a friend. It wasn’t even about advertising. He was asking for a favor about something totally different. When he began talking about the person who wanted a favor and was telling me about his business, I instantly realized that this company would be a great advertiser for the network. The client has been with us for years now and as a result of that one simple call advertises on radio throughout the country. You don’t know who knows who. Listen to your friends. Your next big client could be right in front of you.

5. My last tip may be controversial but is critical if you truly want to make 2023 your best year ever. I don’t believe in the old saying, “The customer is always right.” We’ve all known clients that are verbally abusive, liars and just an overall pain-in-the-you-know-what. There comes a point when if you are spending hours daily kowtowing to just one client, you have to consider the time it is taking away from new business, other customers and also your own personal mental health. If someone in any part of your life is sucking the living energy out of you, you need to move on, or you will remain stagnant and 2023 won’t be your best year ever.

Whatever else you do in 2023, remember to work hard, have fun and of course never give up. Happy 2023!

Kathy Carr is president of HCRN which distributes the Howie Carr Show and Grace Curley Show. She can be reached at Kathycarr@Howiecarrshow.com

Industry Views

PENDING BUSINESS – Hello New Year

 
By Steve Lapa
President
Lapcom Communications Corp.

The calendar has officially changed. Hopefully your checks will start saying 2023 and it’s time to dig in and get back to work. Wait, does anyone still write checks? For sure your Q1 plan is complete and ready for action.

Let’s look at the first two major events in Q1, as each represents sales opportunities for virtually every radio format.

The Super Bowl is in five weeks. You don’t need to be selling sports talk radio or the gameday play-by-play to capitalize on the most-viewed sporting event in the media. The audience numbers connected to this event are now legendary. Nearly 1 billion viewers watched the 10 highest-rated TV broadcasts of the Super Bowl. As we sell the value and results of radio/audio, the TV numbers simply support the social impact of the event. Whether your radio station will broadcast the game or not, there is a sales opportunity for the seller pitching the right package to the right advertiser. This year the competition for local ad dollars will be heightened as we deal with inflation, recession, and lingering supply chain issues. The traditional “bars and cars,” big screen TV sales and even gameday gear-up may all be impacted at the local advertiser level. Sharpen your pencil and package creatively with all assets on board.

Valentine’s Day in six weeks. We are projected to spend nearly $ 24 billion on Valentine’s Day – or about $175 per person. That puts Valentine’s Day neck-and-neck with Mother’s Day. So, wining and dining, flowers, jewelry, spa day, greeting cards, gift certificates, it’s all part of this great tradition that has defined February for nearly 1,600 years. Yes, you can go back to the Romans for the first celebration. For sure the Romans had a way to promote the Valentine’s Day festivals that spread the word far and wide leading to the traditions we have today. The sales opportunity connected to Valentine’s Day is a simple four step process:

1. Cover the traditional categories.
2. Open your thinking to new opportunities.
3. Be ready to respond to “We sell out, anyway.”
4. Full asset packaging.

Getting back in the saddle and regaining your sales rhythm may take a few cranks of the engine. But like riding a bike, the muscle memory kicks in and before you know it, you’re coasting again. Happy Selling!

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: Steve@Lapcomventures.com