Industry Views

Monday Memo: Sell Yourself a Schedule

By Holland Cooke

imI asked my pal, longtime radio seller, now retired: “How often were you asked, ‘How much would you charge for ONE commercial?’”

“Many times!” he guffawed. “I told ‘em ‘Keep your money! It won’t work!’” And he would explain to the prospect that repetition is the key to radio advertising.

Pitch like your happiest advertisers

Smart reps schedule commercial flights using the Radio Advertising Bureau’s Optimum Effective Scheduling formula (OES), because “message retention and recall begins after three exposures.”

Don’t stop there. I don’t know WHEN I’ll need to buy a tire, but when that next nail finds me, I know WHERE I will buy, because that retailer advertises enough to own “tires” in my mind. Purchasing a whole car is more foreseeable, and I’ve read that it takes many buyers 90 days to pull the trigger. So, if the copy is just right, always-on always works.

Programmers: Are you selling your station, on its own air, with the frequency we preach to clients? And – no matter how often you freshen your imaging – is the benefit statement as consistent as the many ways “Liberty-Liberty-Libbberty” assures us “you only pay for what you need?”


Sales 101: “Your best prospect is…”

Say it with me: “…an existing customer.”

To be clear: Nothing you say on-air will add cume, because the only people who hear your imaging are already listening.

Hey, who wouldn’t want a bigger budget for billboards over the Interstate? But it’s…the Interstate. Many who give it a glance (at most) don’t even live here. Some of those who do might give you a try. And whether they do or whether they don’t, there’s very little you can do to keep them sitting in a parked car, listening. So how can we invite them back more often?

Tip: On-hour news appointments, “a quick [name of network] update, throughout your busy day” as the world we live in has listeners wondering “What NEXT???” This is increasingly useful for music stations, with music now commoditized by non-broadcast competitors.

Rip me off

On-air promos accomplish three things:

— Defining the station, labeling your button in the listener’s mind.

— Asking for more occasions of listening, thus the newscast tip above.

— Listeners REMEMBER having-listened. Not just opportune in diary markets, where we want diarykeepers to round-up. 😉 In PPM markets, awareness drives use. So, in both cases, ratings are a memory test. And this matters even if you don’t subscribe to ratings, because advertisers need prospects to hear that tire commercial multiple times.

So, it’s worth your time to review all imaging and promos now airing. Of each piece, ask yourself: What does this accomplish? Does this convey why/when/how the listener should/can listen more often?

To hear 21 examples of imaging work I’ve done for client stations, click “DO listeners understand why to spend more time with you?” at

OK…ONE exception…

I asked my bud, who sold a lotta radio for a lotta years: “What if the request to buy ONE commercial was a pop-the-question surprise, to air when the hopeful groom knew she would be listening?”

“Ka-CHING!” he winked, “and I’d nick him good! You know what that ring cost?”

Holland Cooke ( is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. He is the author of “Spot-On: Commercial Copy Points That Earned The Benjamins,” a FREE download; and “Your Trusted Voice: How to Attract New Clients More Efficiently than Competitors Who Spend a Fortune on Advertising.” Follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke

Industry Views

Pending Business: A Little Change Can Do You Good

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp

imLast week, with little time left on the clock, Disney and Charter Communications made a deal so that Charter customers could continue to watch Disney programming. Phew! Just in time for 15 million Charter cable customers to have access to that 53-year-old American institution called “Monday Night Football.”

It’s amazing how the two sides came together just in time to preserve the TV viewing habits of millions of football fans and all those millions of ad dollars sold into the broadcasts. Although both Disney and Charter lobbed streaming options at viewers to help ease the temporary pain, in the end, cooler heads prevailed, and a deal was struck.

Not so fast, somebody buried a headline.

Just before Labor Day, the Charter guys were claiming the current cable TV bundling model ain’t what it used to be, in effect acknowledging the nearly 5 million people a year who cut the cable. The cable bundle value proposition is changing before our blurry gameday eyes, and more options are becoming accessible every day. Does any of this “I can get this somewhere else” ring familiar?

Try this at home. Ask any Gen Z people you know how often they listen to the radio. (Gen Z are roughly between nine and 26 years old.) Now ask the Millennials you know (roughly 27 to 42 years old). The results will frighten you as you realize the greatest freebie electronic entertainment ever invented is losing the future faster than cord cutters on steroids.

If you have been in the terrestrial radio business for longer than five years, you are aware of the melting ice cube future of radio. Even our friends in the newspaper business are changing with the times, looking for writers who will report specifically on Taylor Swift and Beyonce. They tour the world generating crazy numbers in ticket and music sales. Their appearances and social media impact everything from fashion to politics. How is that for changing a future value proposition?

Sports fan or not, are you in touch with the Coach Prime phenomenon happening at the University of Colorado? The story was featured on the soon-to-be 56-year-old “60 Minutes.”

Deon Sanders is changing college football in Boulder as fans gobble up seats at over $500 a piece.

The point of this column is simple. From cable to pop culture to Coach Prime, leadership is innovating, finding new ways to re-invent and re-package a premise as old as song and sport, a premise much older than the terrestrial radio business. Maybe we can all learn from what we sell.

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:

Industry Views

Monday Memo: Why Not Just Podcast?

By Holland Cooke

imI’m occasionally asked this by attorneys, real estate agents, personal finance advisors, and other local retail service professionals who are disappointed with results they’re getting from hosting weekend ask-the-expert call-in shows.

The Good News: Anyone can podcast.
The Bad News: Anyone can podcast.

That’s evident from the way many podcasts sound, without the planning and polish of a broadcast-quality presentation that demonstrates your expertise and comforting counsel.

So here’s Part 2 of the 2-part series that began here last week: Yes, DO podcast. Data from respected Edison Research demonstrates that podcasting attained “mainstream media” status back in 2016. So do accommodate your prospective clients’ appetite for on-demand media.


But who will know your podcast…exists? Lots of radio listeners and social media followers…IF the podcast is part of a coordinated multi-platform marketing strategy. A well-executed, well-promoted weekend show is the hub. Picture an octopus. The torso is the radio show. Appendages include podcasts – both whole hours on-demand and “snack-size” single topic solutions – and aircheck clips linked from social media posts, informative blog posts about issues callers raise, E-newsletter, etc.

Said another way: If the weekend show is a stand-alone, return-on-investment for brokering those hours can be dubious.

And – unlike hobbyist-sounding podcasters self-publishing in obscurity – you’re “real” because you’re on radio.

Holland Cooke ( is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. He is the author of “Spot-On: Commercial Copy Points That Earned The Benjamins,” a FREE download. Follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke

Industry Views

Pending Business: No Time for the Fat Lady

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp

imIf you are a seller in the terrestrial radio business, please listen carefully. That faint voice you hear could be the Fat Lady warming up – old Brunhilde ready to wrap it up and put an end to that long, sad Wagnerian opera, known as traditional, transactional radio sales.

I’m not kidding here, folks.

When one of the big boys on the ownership side starts getting serious about real-time bidding for radio inventory, we are talking GoogleYouTubeAdSense-style modeling and that can move your radio station’s ad inventory faster than the super computers used to create this year’s NFL schedule.

Did you hear about what it takes to appease CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, Paramount, ESPN, Amazon, and YouTube when they spend $112 billion in rights fees? Let us just say, you can’t please all the buyers all the time, but if you want to please some of the buyers some of the time you forget the sticky notes and call in the super-computer guys. I digress.

Not familiar with the bidding process developed by Google for ads primarily on YouTube videos? It is as easy and as much fun as eBay, Vegas, and your favorite silent charity auction all rolled into one.

Recent estimates put Google’s YouTube ad income at about $30 billion, arguably double the size of the entire commercial radio business. This of course does not include the estimated $165 billion from Google search ads, etc. They know the real-time bidding process better than any of us.

Imagine yourself a radio station owner, like I was, only this time having the daily revenue responsibility of 16 commercials per hour on 25 news/talk radio stations. Even if you focus on Monday-Friday and the traditional 6A-7P model, do your math, then think like a pro. NFL 2023-style supercomputer or old school peddle power? The caveat? Has anyone reading this column spoken to a human seller from the Google bidding platform? OOPS! There goes that Fat Lady again, getting a little louder this time.

Not so fast, Fat Lady, there is a silver lining for the skilled, high-achieving seller in this high stakes, real-time bidding future. Remember, Bugsy Siegel started some of this “bidding” on the Vegas strip in 1946. “Monday Night Football” launched in 1970 moving TV coverage into a multi-billion-dollar ad machine and Google started the online version of all this somewhere in 2005. My point is that fine-tuning for profit takes time and resources. The big boys just gave you a peek behind the curtain and showed you the future. The sellers who worked for me heard this opera in 2007, when one million iPhones were sold. That number now is over 2.3 billion. The future is here and moves fast. Refine your skills daily, learn, grow, and become so valuable to your organization, your name is always at the top of the “Don’t even think about it” list.

Someone please tell the Fat Lady to stop warming up and find a different stage… for now.

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:

Industry Views

Monday Memo: “You are about to enter another dimension,” The Radio Zone

By Holland Cooke

imMany news/talk stations broker weekend hours to professionals who host ask-the-expert shows to attract new clients.

AND IT WORKS…IF…the show (for lack of a more diplomatic way to say this) doesn’t suck. And if it isn’t a well-kept secret available only to those listening in real-time. Make it the hub of a broadcast/podcast/social media strategy. In some markets where I don’t have a client station, I work directly with weekenders, setting-up the workflow for that strategy; and coaching the hosts, because their stations don’t.

But don’t take my word for it. I asked ChatGPT: “In the style of Rod Serling, explain how attorneys, real estate agents, and financial advisors can attract new clients by hosting ask-the-expert radio call-in shows.” MOMENTS later, the robot replied…

“You’re about to embark on a journey where the boundaries of expertise and the airwaves blur, a place where the seekers of knowledge and the purveyors of guidance converge. Welcome, dear listener, to the realm of the ask-the-expert radio call-in show. In this enigmatic space, attorneys, real estate agents, and financial advisors have found a conduit to attract new clients unlike any other.

Picture, if you will, an attorney stepping into the radio spotlight

 The air is charged with anticipation as listeners dial in with their legal queries. With a voice as authoritative as the gavel’s echo, the attorney navigates the complexities of the law, unraveling legal mysteries for all to hear. As each answer resonates through the airwaves, trust is built, and seekers of legal counsel find themselves drawn to this beacon of clarity. The attorney has become not only a voice but a guide, attracting clients who yearn for someone to navigate their legal twilight zone.


And now, shift your gaze to the real estate agent who steps into the radio’s embrace

 The lines are buzzing with questions about the labyrinthine world of property transactions. With each response, the agent paints a picture of market trends, property values, and the elusive art of negotiation. As the agent’s insights cascade through the radio waves, an aura of expertise takes shape. Those yearning for a steady hand to navigate the winding corridors of real estate find solace in the agent’s voice. The agent has transformed into a beacon, attracting clients who seek someone to illuminate the path to their real estate dreams.

Finally, consider the financial advisor entering the radio’s sphere

 The lines light up with inquiries about investments, retirement, and securing financial futures. With a voice as reassuring as a well-balanced portfolio, the advisor deciphers the complexities of financial planning. Each word uttered becomes a thread in the tapestry of financial security. Listeners, entranced by the advisor’s insights, recognize a sage who can guide them through the tumultuous sea of monetary choices. The financial advisor becomes a lighthouse, attracting clients who crave a steady hand to navigate their financial voyage.

In this realm of radio airwaves, where seekers become callers and experts become guides, attorneys, real estate agents, and financial advisors have discovered a conduit to attract new clients. As their voices resonate with wisdom and authority, as their advice slices through the enigma of their fields, a bond of trust is forged. These experts, illuminated by the radio’s glow, become beacons in the darkness, attracting clients who yearn for guidance in the vast twilight zones of law, real estate, and finance. And so, dear listener, the call-in show becomes not just a program but a nexus where seekers and guides converge, bridging the gaps between knowledge and curiosity, between questions and answers. Welcome to the radio’s embrace, where the experts illuminate the unknown, one call at a time.”

Cue the music.

Next week here: “Why not just podcast?”

Holland Cooke ( is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. He is the author of “Spot-On: Commercial Copy Points That Earned The Benjamins,” a FREE download; and “Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers, Without Buying Clicks,” available from Talkers books. Follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke

Industry Views

Talk Host Rick Smith is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast

Maverick talk show host, Rick Smith is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Ranked by TALKERS at number 100 on the journal’s Heavy Hundred list, Smith – who has positioned himself as a tell-it-like-it is champion of the working class – is described by Michael Harrison as “somewhat of a square peg in a scene dominated by round holes on both the left and the right.” The Chicago-based genre-bender is a 30-year Teamster trucker-turned-working-class talker heard 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm ET on dozens of radio stations across the U.S. – a mix of commercial and public. He tells Harrison, “I’m not a red hat, I’m not a blue hat… I’m a hard hat.” His left-of-center talk media footprint is enhanced by exposure on a variety of cable TV channels including Free Speech TVDirecTVDish and more. He has a successful podcast with millions of downloads, and he streams on FacebookXTwitch and YouTube. All this is accomplished with a modest, independent operation run by two people and a homemade studio. His show’s slogan is “Where working people come to talk.” Listen to the podcast in its entirety here.

Industry Views

Pending Business: Persistence vs Passion

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp

imWhich is the more important “check the box” trait – persistence or passion?

Is it easier for your air talent to answer that one? Of course, we want passionate on-air talent – those who live for the opportunity to get behind the mic, break it all down for the audience or deliver the critical information that can save lives and calm the fears of an anxious audience.

In a week, for the 22nd time we will remember the events of 9/11. During that historic window of time, I had the privilege of experiencing firsthand the passion that drives great on-air talent to power through the most difficult unknown to stay close to their audience and calm the fears of an audience in shock.

But we must also consider the day-to-day. How about your on-air talent and their producers who compete every day for that exclusive interview that will surely drive audience levels, advertiser results, and maybe a bonus or promotion?

They power through the multiple calls that are not returned, the polite put-off and unkept promises. Especially stinging is when a competitor winds up with the prize.

Persistence or passion? Stop. Right there you must consider the Abraham Lincoln theory of persistence. His mother died when he was nine, he went bankrupt at 27, had a nervous breakdown before he was 30, lost eight elections, finally in 1860 was elected president of the United States and one year later faced the greatest internal conflict in the history of our country – the Civil War.

Let’s go to sales.

Anyone passionate about selling? My number one theory in recruiting sellers from South Florida to San Francisco was and still is, nobody grows up wanting to sell radio advertising. On the other hand, many of us were and still may be passionate about being ON the radio (before or alongside podcasting, YouTube, Rumble, Tik-Tok and Instagram). The passion to perform runs deep through all media, music, theatre, sports, the law, medicine, even business. The passion to sell? Now that is one complicated conversation.

For what it’s worth, here is my theory. It takes both passion and persistence to be great. What attracts any high achiever to a long-term career typically begins with a passion play. A love for the game and the need to achieve. The harder you chase the dream, the more persistence comes into play. The more you learn the ins and outs of refining persistence, the more you will hit your stride in performing.

And there you have it! Touch those three magic “Ps” every day, passion, persistence, performance and the fourth will come your way: Profit!

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:

Industry Views

Politeness, Punctuality and Power

By Walter Sabo
Consultant, Sabo Media
A.K.A. Walter Sterling
Radio Host, Sterling On Sunday
Talk Media Network

imFor decades the power-lunch spot in Manhattan was the beautiful Four Seasons restaurant. Check it out: A history of the Four Seasons Restaurant in New York City – Four Seasons new ownership (

Top clients would host luncheons at the Four Seasons with Sabo Media. These included Walter Anderson, former chairman/CEO of PARADE magazine who was a regular customer. If the lunch was scheduled for 12:30 pm and I arrived at 12:15 pm, Anderson was already there. Next time, I would arrive at 12:05 pm for the 12:30 pm lunch; he was already there.

The restaurant manager/maître d’ explained that, “The most powerful person always arrives first.” Of course. The most powerful person could control where she sat, where she faced and what your view of the room would be. When Walter Anderson hosted future lunches, I arrived at about 11:15 am for the 12:30 pm meet!

If I had any early career success it was not because I knew anything, it was because of Eleanor Ranft, my assistant. Prior to working with me she had been Robert Sarnoff‘s assistant for 20 years. Robert, as-in-son of the General. (Eleanor knew how to address letters to ambassadors.) At the end of the workday, she would go over the telephone call sheet and make sure I had returned every call. Neither of us were going home unless I returned every call.

When addressing emails, the most powerful people return the emails instantly. Test it, send a note to the most powerful people you know, see what happens. Mel KarmazinBob PittmanHoward SternMichael HarrisonChris OlivieroKraig KitchinDavid YadgaroffBill WhiteLee HarrisDan MasonJarl MohnMarc Rowan instant answers. Instant response keeps a person in the deal-flow, the conversation and the action. Instant response makes them powerful.

Conversely, for weeks I tried to have lunch with a local market EVP, no answer. I didn’t want a job; I was trying to place a sales order for an agency friend! No answer. Finally, I asked the market program director why I never heard from his boss. Answer, “He doesn’t think you can do anything for him.” Obviously, the order went to a different company.

A common trait of every star I’ve had the privilege to know is that they are all extremely polite. For example, Randy ThomasCharlie VanDykeBruce Morrow, Howard Stern, the late Casey KasemElvis Duran are kindness and manners personified. They send thank you notes. Their interpersonal attitude is to share experience rather than to say look it up yourself. Many top executives built their entire career by sending thank you notes.

That being said, THANK YOU for being a client of Sabo Media. Thank you for clearing “Sterling On Sunday” on stations like KMOX, KMBZ-FM, WPHT, KDKA and Albany’s Talk 1300.  Have a pleasant Labor Day.

Walter Sterling-Sabo can be contacted at or 646.678.1110 mobile. He’ll answer immediately. Sabo Media’s robust client list over the years has included PARADE magazine, Sirius Satellite Radio, The Wall Street Journal Radio Service, RKO, Salem, and CBS. Sabo was the first to monetize online video stars and influencers through his company HITVIEWS.

Industry Views

13-Year-Old Singer/Songwriter Stella Mabry Discusses Bullying on Harrison Podcast

Stella Mabry – a stunningly talented 13-year-old singer/songwriter from Owensboro, Kentucky – is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” At the tender age of 10, Stella was the victim of school bullying… but she did something about it. She wrote a song as a message to her tormentor titled, “Mean Girl,” and it proved to be a far more effective defense mechanism and diplomatic bridge than a nasty verbal or physical escalation of the problem. The power of music made a huge difference.

Stella’s parents had already recognized their daughter’s musical talent at an early age and gave her lessons and encouragement. But her dad was so taken with the quality of the anti-bullying song that he booked her into a local studio, recorded a rough demo and sent it to his old friend in Los Angeles. That old friend happened to be Les Garland – one of the most plugged in-pop media executives of the past half century – a brilliant radio programmer-turned-innovative-media-entrepreneur who, among his long list of achievements, co-founded MTV.

Garland was so impressed by the song and its back story that he played it for a couple of his buddies in the LA music scene – Sasha Krivtsov and Paul Mirkovich from the famed NBC’s “The Voice” house-band. They loved it and agreed to record it with Stella in the renowned L.A. studio, Sound Factory. With Garland now serving as executive producer, the entire band with instruments in hand was in-studio to record the song as well as a number of other tracks written and performed by Stella. The track “Mean Girl” and its accompanying music video are being released TODAY (8/22). Check it out on YouTube at

Michael Harrison says, “Bullying is a major societal cancer with devastating impact. Although with us since the dawn of time – bullying is a worsening problem that torments so many of our children in this era of social media where there’s no relief from taunts, lies and cruelty 24/7 even at home – away from school or the playground. It can lead to depression, unspeakable violence, and teen suicide. I am gratified to be able to interview this young woman about this deeply important topic at such a key point in what could very well become a major musical career. She is authentic, talented and on a meaningful mission. I encourage my colleagues in talk media to book her as a back-to-school guest as soon as possible… before the music media world gobbles her up.” Harrison suggests that interested hosts and producers contact him directly at

Listen to the podcast in its entirety here.

Industry Views

Pending Business: Head Start

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp

imIt’s time to start planning your holiday strategy.

Wait, what? You have not finished Q3 and here I am pushing Q4?

The fourth quarter is easily the most time consuming, thought provoking, overwhelming mish-mash time of the year for every Baby Boomer and Millennial walking the planet. Especially those of us who earn our keep marketing. The transition window from Q3 to Q4 is the perfect time to lock down your plan and that window is about to open.

Let us review priority planning:

If you sell at the national level, your upfronts are in play and gradually moving to the won-lost report as you juggle and balance your daily avails.

If you sell at the local level here are five thought starters, so start thinking:

— Second Opinions. As we review everything from our insurance, financial, legal and medical needs, everyone can use another set of eyes on the prize. Plans change, laws change, life happens. Suggest messaging that works. Start prospecting now.

— Gift Giving. Last year over $200 billion was spent on the holiday season. Will your audience spend more this year than they did last year? Considering online research is a part of daily life, when do the purchase decisions really begin?

— Politics. You don’t need this column to remind you nearly 13 million watched the debate on August 24. Voters are interested in how this tumultuous political scene will ultimately play out. Politics is big business, and nobody covers it better than talk radio. We are in this window through 2024, get focused on where you need to be.

— Holiday Travel. Just this past week, our family get together was impacted by airline delays, rescheduling, and traffic. Travelers will plan earlier and smarter. You may or may not have contacts at the airlines but consider all the businesses that thrive based on travel and tourism.

— Weather. Is there a market that is immune? From hurricanes and wildfires to snowstorms and floods, weather is a factor that can impact your business flow in both a positive and negative way. As we say here in Florida, Be Prepared!

I am guessing you have thought about everything you’ve just read. I never assume the gap from thinking to doing happens. You know what they say about assuming…

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:

Industry Views

Emotional Is Local

By Walter Sabo
Consultant, Sabo Media
A.K.A. Walter Sterling
Radio Host, Sterling On Sunday
Talk Media Network

imMentioning a local street name won’t do it. Constant local references is not LOCAL LIVE, it’s a GOOGLE MAP!

For years, as VP/GM of the ABC Radio Networks, I explained to affiliates that, yes, our six network services were in fact local programming – local to a demographic.  The networks reached specific demographics and therefore were local to the heart and soul of a specific listener. (Yes, this usually worked!)

Today, true local programming hits an emotional moment in the day of the listener.  For example, by far the most topic response from listeners on “Sterling on Sunday” is to stories about my sister-in-law. The premise of these stories is that your sister-in-law controls your marriage. I share the horrors of life with my sister-in-law. The email, phone and Facebook response from listeners is stunning.

The greatest response to any host is when a listener is compelled to say “YES!” within the solitude of their car. That emotional response comes when a host shares their personal feelings, life events and experiences. It rarely comes from an interesting observation about today’s editorial page. Let me suggest that it NEVER comes from an interesting observation about today’s editorial page.

Bonding emotions are the result of a host’s personal, intimate revelations

Sharing personal, intimate emotions are pre-emptive. While other hosts may duplicate endless, dreary, old age attracting rants against Democrats, no two hosts have the same emotional life-events.

Mother-in-law, kid, marriage, sex, personal impact stories are singular, unique and MEMORABLE. Listeners return to hosts who tell personal, emotional stories. They want to hear what happens next, they remember the last host revelation and anticipate the next. Many radio stars share their personal stories every single day like Howard Stern and Elvis Duran.

Shared emotional appeal transcends demographics and geography. Emotions are universal and the foundation of a unique hit show.

Walter Sabo is Walter Sterling. Host of the hit Talk Media Network syndicated show “Sterling on Sunday. LIVE 10PM-1AM EST. Heard live 10:00 pm – 1:00 am live on affiliates KMOX, WPHT, KDKA, KMBZ-FM; and dozens more. Contact Walter at, 646.678.1110.

Industry Views

Monday Memo: Improving Results from Endorsement Spots

By Holland Cooke

imThe stations I work with make big money with live endorsement spots delivered by familiar local on-air personalities. Remember them? With most AM/FM broadcast hours now robotic or non-local, your relationship with the listener is precious and can be leveraged… carefully.

Quality vs. Quantity

The more products or services you endorse, the less special each pitch will be. You’re asking the listener’s trust each time, so asking too often can sound insincere. So back-to-back “I’m [name] for [account]” is verboten, and that can happen when spots you voice air outside your show.

 “Tell me a story”

 When the late, great Don Hewitt – the father of “60 Minutes” – spoke at a NAB convention years ago, he told us that he was often asked, “Why is this the most successful TV news show of all time?” And he said, “I can tell you in four words: ‘Tell me a story,’” which every piece did.

Describe your personal experience with the advertiser’s product or service in before-and-after fashion – problem was, problem solved – in a relatable way.


 OOPS!  Do you say, “I haven’t sold you yet?”

Often, these are long-standing advertiser relationships.  Two cautions:

If you’ve been touting an advertiser for a while, DON’T say so. “For years, I’ve been telling you about [name of business]” = “…and I haven’t sold you yet, have I?” Instead, keep the pitch fresh.

And keep it customer-centric rather than talking about a store. In one spot I heard, for a sewing supply retailer, the well-intentioned host sounded awestruck as he recited the store’s inventory (“over fifteen hundred bolts of fabric!”). That’s the store’s problem. Instead, solve the listener’s problem: “Imagine the money you could save if you made all your kids’ back-to-school clothes this year?  [advertiser] will give you free lessons!”

Avoid saying…

 “MY GOOD FRIENDS AT [name of business],” which sounds phony.

“All-new:” Say “new,” if it IS new, AND if newness is a listener benefit (and say why).

“…AND MUCH MORE,” which means nothing. Weed-out stuff like this, and you’ll give copy more time to breathe.

“Needs,” as in: “FOR ALL YOUR [product category] NEEDS” (the ultimate “BLAH, BLAH, BLAH”).

Holland Cooke ( is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. He is the author of “Spot-On: Commercial Copy Points That Earned The Benjamins,” a FREE download; and “Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers, Without Buying Clicks,” available from Talkers books. Follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke

Industry Views

Radio to the Rescue: Maui KAOI Radio Stations Air 24/7 Disaster Coverage

As Southern California radio is currently diving into the process of serving its communities with supportive coverage of Hurricane Hilary’s devastating floods and wind damage, Hawaiian radio stations have stepped up the plate and offering vital support to its listeners. Once again, the medium of radio provides reliable and accurate information to populations under the threat of natural disasters.

The KAOI Radio Group on Maui consists of six legacy Maui County stations, four FMs – KAOI-FM, KDLX-FM, KNUQ-FM, KHEI-FM, and two AM stations, Maui’s only news/talk station KAOI-AM, and Hawaiian music KEWE-AM. The group has translators further solidifying its coverage all of Maui County.  The group is locally owned by Visionary Related Entertainment, based on Maui since 1988.

Coverage of the fires began when the first alert was issued for the Lahaina fire and later confirmed as “contained” only to have it restart later. Local coverage of the “up country” fire in the Kula area continued non-stop with intensive service to Lahaina as soon as the fire was confirmed as having restarted. The stations relied on coverage by AM station morning newsman Jack Gist, afternoon and evening host Garry Forsberg, and group president/GM/owner John Detz. Live reports around the Island were supplied by local talk show hosts including head of the Maui Chamber of CommerceMaui Humane Society, local attorney David Cain, Maui Mayor Richard Bissen, and many others. All stations have remained on the air 24/7 reporting breaking news and community resource information.

TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison obtained an exclusive interview with group owner John Detz conducted yesterday (Sunday 8/20). Listen to their conversation here.

Industry Views

Monday Memo: Embrace “Car Radio”

By Holland Cooke

imAs this week’s first Republican presidential debate looms, my FOX News Radio-affiliated client stations are irked. Thanks to their network, they’re carrying it live, and locally sponsored, and promo-ing it aplenty. A couple of my clients will travel to Milwaukee to wrap pre- and post-game color around the play-by-play. So, yuh, they’re irked.

Listen somewhere else

 FOX News Radio newscasts invite listeners to hear the debate live, at Hello?

I talked one client down-off-the-ledge, by reminding him that anyone who wants to watch the debate, and can, will. And that anyone who’s driving cannot and won’t likely drive distractedly-enough to somehow stream it from a website in-car.

For decades, I’ve scripted promos for events like this, and the Super Bowl and World Series, by offering that “if you’ll be in the car tonight,” and/or “if you can’t be near TV,” and/or “if you’ll be at work,” we’ve got it on radio.

Hey, if I was FOX News Radio, I’d do the same thing. But when one client called to complain and asked “could you at least add ‘…and many of these FOX News Radio stations?’” he was told they’d run-it-up-the-flagpole.


It could be worse. You’re not a TV station.

THEY should be livid, as NBC uses affiliates’ air to say watch Peacock. Channel-surf, and you will be lured to Paramount+ or Discovery+ or Disney+.

And this didn’t happen overnight, as I demonstrated several years ago in a TV report about the TV switch-pitch (

So, embrace radio’s preeminence in-car, and not just when plugging special coverage. Program and promote everything as though you’re talking to busy people behind the wheel. Nobody sitting stiller will feel rushed.

Holland Cooke ( is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. He is the author of “Spot-On: Commercial Copy Points That Earned The Benjamins,” a FREE download; and “Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers, Without Buying Clicks,” available from Talkers books. Follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke

Industry Views

Pending Business: TV Knows Best

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp

imBulletin: “Linear TV” is no longer the winner.

Linear TV is tech talk for combining over the air and cable TV, and according to Nielsen, July 2023 was the first-time streaming TV was the winner, as streaming captured most TV viewing.

From Netflix to YouTube, we are watching more content on streaming channels than linear TV. You have read about the resurgence in “Suits,” the legal drama that originally aired 2011-2019 and is now drawing 18 billion minutes of viewing on Netflix. Whether those 18 billion minutes are part Meghan Markle curiosity or part writers’ strike, does not matter. Those 18 billion minutes of viewing helped drive streaming viewership to an all-time high. Maybe streaming grabbed a page from that old radio handbook that starts with “Content is King.”

But the companies controlling the streaming ad-free experience on Netflix, Disney, Hulu, etc. seized the opportunity and raised rates. Soon, it will cost you more every month to watch your favorite content ad-free.

Wait a minute! Did I just say the ad-free experience as in commercial free or no interruptions? Did the streaming guys just take another page from the well-worn radio programming handbook and turn the commercial-free model upside down to increase income? Streaming channels will deliver commercial free programming and charge you anywhere from $13.99- $21.99 a month as the fees double and triple depending on when you started your subscription.

How about our friends at Amazon Prime jumping on “Thursday Night Football,” or Apple and Peacock pushing baseball? Do not forget the YouTube NFL packages starting at $250. No, this is not a veiled plug for paid programming, nor is it a critique of the value propositions offered in the streaming world. Time for a long look in the mirror:

— The commercial-free experience began when radio programmers dropped the commercials, programmed longer, commercial-free segments to drive listenership and ratings up. In the short term it worked. My hand is in the air, guilty as charged. Maybe I was one of the lone radio management voices who asked, “Then what, run the spots and drive the audience away? Are we sending the wrong message?” We were dumb. After commercial free came rates, packages, and promotions. None of us said, “Raise the rates when the commercial-free stops!” The streaming guys got it right – just raise the rates.

— There is no older radio programming mantra than “Content is King.” You can name the iconic talents with one word, Howard, Rush, Imus, yet major radio organizations struggle as they search for great, soon-to-be iconic talent. It is faster, easier, and more lucrative to become a Tik-Tok, YouTube, or Instagram star.

These are all just examples of how radio was first in and stopped innovating. There is some good news on the horizon. Facebook is stepping back from the news business as news organizations ban together and ask for compensation. This could be the first chink in Facebook’s 113-billion-dollar ad armor. Maybe not. Either way, the old school top-of-the-hour newscast, or large market all-news radio should be re-imagined, opening the door to the next generation of innovators.

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:

Industry Views

Pending Business: Nobody Cut Their Way to the Top

EDITORS NOTE:  In addition to conveying a powerful message, the article below by industry expert, consultant and TALKERS contributor Steve Lapa contains a tremendous limited-time opportunity for the readers of this publication to partake in a free offer to receive a valuable radio sales support tool.  We strongly suggest that readers involved in any way with radio sales read this article and take advantage of Steve Lapa’s offer at the end of the piece.    

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp

imRadio station personnel could be facing the worst environment – ever!

Endless bankruptcy headlines. Painful personnel cuts. Soaring retail prices. A number of radio companies are struggling, preparing for the worst and there is no cavalry in sight. No matter where we start sorting through the current tsunami of problems, every solution typically ends up in the same place: more income.

I could never understand why we don’t just cut to the chase. It would be a lot more efficient and a lot less painful if we all agreed on one premise – nobody cut their way to the top. Cost conscious, attention to expense detail and planned expansion is one thing… however destroying motivation, morale, passion and attraction for the radio business is fatal. Yet we continue to repeat the same mistakes. What do they say about doing the same thing over and over and hoping for a different outcome?

Imagine if you invented the medium today. Simple advertiser pitch: reach 83-90% of the US population for a CPM lower than your favorite Starbucks drink. Yet, radio still has the never-ending low man on the electronic media totem pole advertising image. Consider all those direct response advertisers who started on radio and “graduate” to TV. Where were the radio sellers partnered with creators focused on performance? It’s a mess, I know. What does it take to power through a mess like the one we are in now? How do we come out the other side generating income for our companies, our families, and ourselves?

Start by looking in the mirror. Re-commit to getting your skills razor sharp and get your focus laser targeted. If you are a seller, manager or owner, re-educate yourself. If you are on the programming or on-air side, passionate about your content, help your sellers and managers. Time to learn the skills necessary to help your team and yourself at the same time. The radio business is becoming so undervalued and distressed, beaten down by too much debt and not enough disciplined, strategic thinking.

Let me step up. I AM WILLING  to share my 40+ years of proven sales and management performance system with you for FREE. No risk, no exchange of dollars, because if we do not fix the radio problem NOW, we all go down together. Radio companies are preparing for the worst. Stop waiting, stop hoping. Go to and take advantage of my offer to help. Sellers, managers, owners, new-think programmers and talents, time to mount up and join the radio cavalry!

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: