Industry Views

Pending Business: Q2

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp

imHave we passed the disappointment of 2023?

If ad sales at your radio station finished last year up double digits (excluding digital) please skip past the next few paragraphs. If you’re in the same boat as most radio ad sellers across the country at various levels – i.e. local, national, syndication, network – last year was a struggle.

Now then, how is Q1 shaping up?

Are you making up for lost ground, like the airline business, automotive business, restaurants or are you still pushing that boulder uphill? Here is some straight-from-the-field unfiltered feedback:

1. Valentine’s Day at most restaurants was one of the busiest on record. People at the packed-in table next to ours waited two hours after sitting to be served. So much for a 6:45 pm reservation. They got free dessert. Seriously?

2. Travel is back, make no mistake about it. Discount airfares are a thing of the past on the big-name airlines. At 6’2” I really believe my knees should not be touching the seat in front of me in comfort class on most major airlines.

3. Try negotiating a new car deal this month. No, not the incentives on the 2023 models, I’m talking 2024 in 2024. As the goodfellows said back home, fuhgeddaboudit.

There is nothing wrong with trying to make up for the lost income of the Covid years. After all, testing the pricing upside in business is the American way. We pay more, tip more, and adjust. It is the Darwin theory eating into our wallets every day. So why are most broadcast radio sales teams at all levels still throwing it against the wall to see what sticks? I see it every day in my marketing work. We have lost touch with the excitement, the “wow” factor, the customizations, the basic intangibles of selling the great talent we represent.

Let us learn from other successful businesses. Travel pitches pent-up demand, restaurants make sure you will get the special occasion marketing message no matter where you are, and the auto business, well the ships and chips are in!

What do we not understand about the current weakness in our broadcast radio sales strategy?

1. How current is your value proposition? Successful podcasters like Joe Rogan and Alex Cooper along with YouTubers, Facebook, Instagram, and all social media have changed the game-forever. How does your value proposition stand out today?

2. Talk radio will not go away. Programmers and talent will learn what they need to adjust to refocus one of the great radio formats ever created since someone said, “Let’s play the top 40 songs over and over.”

3. Let us start re-thinking what broadcast radio sellers need to prioritize to make a difference-today.

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

When Crisis Strikes

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp

Can you define “crisis?”

Let’s start with “highly challenging,” move to “difficult,” layer in “nonstop pressure” and quickly fast forward to “intense circumstances.”

This is just from the outside looking in. From the inside looking out the crisis owns the clock and the emotions of its victims. Nothing else matters until the crisis is resolved.

Chances are your sales meetings have never addressed how to work with a local advertiser who is experiencing a marketing crisis. And that is because most managers have minimal experience working through a local advertiser’s marketing crisis.

Large-scale businesses typically coordinate consulting firms, experts, and major ad agencies. Think Tylenol, Chipotle, even VW. But chances are your local direct advertiser may not have the time to coordinate a full-blown crisis management team and responding to their call is now in your in box.

Recently, I found myself knee-deep in executing a plan to help manage a large-scale crisis. The experience was an eye-opener. Hopefully, you can learn from what is next. Here are suggested steps:

— Communication is critical. Listen carefully, be empathetic, clarify all goals that may be hazy and finally get a clear understanding of any timelines.

— Collaborate. Be clear with everyone on your team about the situation. Review internal protocols for copy, production, available inventory, and pricing.

— Long-Term vs. Short-Term. When an advertiser needs to get the word out quickly and efficiently, the temptation to raise rates or forced packaging is real. It is guaranteed that your advertiser will remember the team that grabbed an oar to help guide them to a safe harbor as opposed to the team that grabbed a hammer to nail the budget to the wall.

— Coordinate. Stay in contact with your advertiser. Remember, the crisis owns the clock and your client is focused on solving the crisis, so common sense counts.

— When in doubt take the simple route. If copy is a problem, suggest options. If credit is a problem, suggest a plan. If a talent balks, come up with a back-up. In a crisis, hurdles become mountains and climbing mountains takes months of training. Keep the solution path simple and easy to navigate.

— This too shall pass. Your goal in any local marketing crisis should be to become an ally, a trusted, dependable resource so that when the crisis passes your relationship is cemented.

Take a minute to review and expand on those six take-aways. Selling in a crisis environment is rarely a simple experience. Hopefully, you will be a little better prepared when a marketing crisis strikes.

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:


Pending Business: Drop These Excuses and Earn More

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp


PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Here is a tip or two to help you increase your income.

Drop these two old school excuses from your sales banter and get closer to the winning side of your business interactions.

I am as serious as your commission check. What I am about to share, fresh from the field, is as old as your first pocket calculator with the same limitations of performance, yet I hear this day after day in my marketing work. It’s old, tired, and needs to go.