Industry Views

Pending Business: Curmudgeons

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp

imAre you a sales curmudgeon? You know, that old-school, out-of-touch terrestrial radio ad sales rep who is too lazy to learn the new digital/social media sales world?

A recent survey by Borrell and Associates says most radio station managers vote for “new blood” on the sales team to offset those old-school sellers who are oversaturated and have no more room to grow. It’s the evergreen water bottle analogy. Open that off-the-shelf bottled water and just try pouring more water into that fully filled bottle. There is no more room for even another ounce. Is that you? So full of sales knowledge that there is no room to learn? Your boss thinks it’s better to hire another seller than to wait until you decide to push yourself through the comfort zone and become more productive in the digital/social media column.

The top line “hire new sellers” concept here is true. Some living history:

1. AM vs. FM. Are you old enough to remember separate AM and FM sales teams? AM radio stations were the first big income generators. When FM music stations became popular, we first sold AM/FM combo plans. Realizing FM formats were geared to a younger audience, we hired sellers who got it. Sales teams were formed to sell just the FM stations. The internal conflict was a management nightmare, yet somehow, we managed to create two separate teams. The rest is terrestrial radio sales history.

2. Cluster Sales. When the FCC allowed owners to control more than two radio stations in a market, we went through another seismic change. Sellers who sold for one, or in some cases AM/FM combo sales, were soon allowed to pitch multiple stations owned by one owner in a market. Managers were faced with a new round of consolidation conflict. If you worked with an advertiser that needed additional markets, you were able to bring outside markets with commonly owned radio stations to the mix. Somehow, we managed.

3. Digital/Social. What took so long? Today’s terrestrial radio ad seller is an important foundational component in every radio station ad sales department. Yet the ad sales and audience growth aren’t on the AM/FM or satellite band. It hasn’t been for a while. The ad demand and growth in audience and revenue is on your computer, smartphone, apps, and earbuds. Are you ready to adapt to the digital/social media demand curve? Or are you sitting in your comfortable rocking chair.

There is no doubt new sellers plugged into new media platforms will fuel the next level of audio sales growth. But before we give up on those curmudgeons on your sales team, let’s learn how they preserve the buyer-seller relationship long enough to earn the privilege of becoming “curmudgeons.”

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: Do You Know?

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp

imI’m no expert, but I do have a theory.

The American media business is the most competitive and advanced in the world. Many other countries directly or indirectly control their airwaves and print publications. Not here, no way, not as long as the First Amendment protects freedom of the press. Yet with that historic, awesome guarantee in place, why are newspapers failing, magazines gutting staff and many of the newer dot coms hitting the wall?

It is inevitable that daily print publications like the LA Times and the Washington Post cut back. We’ve come a long way since Guttenberg, but low-tech printing presses, paper and ink are just not fast enough to keep up with the 24/7 information cycle. I can understand the financial woes caused by bloated staffs at Buzzfeed, Vice and most recently at Business Insider. But when Sports Illustrated gave notice to its writing crew, now you are messing with arguably the most successful sports magazine of all time.

S.I. knew how to attract great writers delivering iconic story lines. We’re talking writers like Rick Reilly, the late Frank Deford, J.F.K. – yes, the late president – Carl Sandburg and one of my favorite characters of all time the late cigar chomping New York Daily News columnist Jimmy Breslin. Martha Stewart on the cover, not for me.

What happened here? The simple answers are: Too much debt, too much overhead, and too slow to recognize and act on shifting dynamics.

Yet People magazine, which has been around for 50 years and if you believe Statista, now reaches over 82 million readers a month! Can you name the last time People won a Pulitzer for a story? Yet we can all learn a critical lesson from the continued success of People. Even those of us in management in the radio/audio business.

Here comes my big theory which you can apply to content, sales, sales management, and everything else important in life.

1) Know your audience. People is focused on celebrities and rarely gets a story wrong.

2) Keep it simple. People is about pictures and easy to understand storylines.

3) The original target was women 18-34. As the target demo shifted and lifestyles changed, the content of People adjusted.

Let’s connect the dots in our programming, sales, and sales management world.

1) Are you in step with your audience? Listeners, and advertisers are all part of a dynamic environment. What’s in your planner that forces you to know the “audience” you sell or market to?

2) Do you keep your proposals simple and easy to understand? Fast and focused is the name of the game.

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 News

iHM San Francisco Names Cortese and Farber VPs of Sales

iHeartMedia San Francisco names Nicole Cortese and Todd Farber vice presidents of sales for the Bay Area, effective immediately. Cortese most recently served with Amazon Web Services in the cloudim sales division. Farber was most recently an executive director in sales at The Walt Disney Company and ABC. iHeartMedia SVP of sales Joe Donnarumma says, “Nicole’s extensive expertise and Todd’s strategic acumen, paired with their improven leadership in navigating the Bay Area’s competitive landscape, make them ideally suited to lead our sales teams toward greater success.” iHM San Francisco region president AJ Punjabi adds, “Bringing Nicole and Todd on board reinforces our mission to innovate and excel. Their fresh approaches are key to elevating our position as a leader in the evolving landscape of audio and digital media.”

Industry News

Audacy Wichita Names Tommy Castor VP of Sales

Sales pro Tommy Castor is returning to Audacy’s Wichita station group to serve as vice president ofim sales. Castor served with then-Entercom Wichita in 2005. Most recently he served as VP of sales and marketing for the ECHL’s Wichita Thunder. Audacy Wichita SVP and market manager Becky Domyan states, “Tommy has an incredible knowledge of the digital space that will help take our revenue to the next level. He has an energy and enthusiasm that is contagious.” Castor who succeeds the recently retired Lisa Crider, also serves as co-host of the “Sports Daily” program on KFH, Wichita.


Welcome to No-Brand Land!

By Gary Begin
Sound Advantage Media

imBroadcasting executives spend millions building their radio station’s brand in the marketplace. But is it being spent in the right place?

The frontline salesperson is a marketer’s greatest asset in creating brand justice and impact. But if you ask brand managers to look at their brand-building budgets, you’d probably see expenses allocated opposite to what drives brand purchase decisions.

Brand marketers continue to pump big bucks into extensive ad campaigns while doing next to nothing to deliver relevant, brand-supporting messages at the all-important, more significant level—the distance between a company’s sales voice and a prospect’s purchase decision.

What’s the answer?

It probably lies somewhere between (1) the unwillingness of radio stations and brand managers to go further “downstream” with their strategic recommendations and (2) the lack of useful tools to get them there.

Welcome to No Brand’s Land

Increasingly, a company’s branding success depends less on what they sell and more on how they sell it. Selected experts in branding seem to be coming around the idea that the power to make or break your brand-building effort lies not in the quality of your advertising but in the customer’s experience at the point of sale. In radio, that’s your over-the-air product and how your ad rep handles the advertiser.

On one side of No Brand’s Land, brand marketers can control all the implementation, ensuring the advertising campaign is right on, the media coverage generated by your on-air promotion is consistent, your Web site looks the same, and your corporate design is in place.

But on the other side of the No Brand’s Land, salespeople are still doing their own thing. They are cutting and pasting old proposals with outdated information and incorrect messages. They’re fabricating homegrown collateral tools and PowerPoint presentations that are, at best, inconsistent with corporate positioning or, worse, downright inaccurate.

The most frightening thing for brand marketers is that these cobbled-together documents must walk the halls of prospective customers, representing the company’s brand at the most critical points in the sales process. Ouch.

Adding insult to injury, the field-fabrication virus spreads exponentially as this lousy information is perpetuated across the channel on the brand’s intranet.

Crossing Over No Brand’s Land

To navigate and successfully cross No Brand’s Land effectively, marketers must start by adapting brand message creation and delivery to today’s strategic sales processes. Two trends will drive marketers’ efforts to create brand-supporting content that helps salespeople sell.

Trend #1: Value Selling

For more than a decade, sales training and methodology experts have focused on improving the consultative selling skills of salespeople—especially in complex selling environments. The concept is simple: first, salespeople identify customers’ needs; then, they demonstrate the ability of a solution to respond to that customer’s specific needs successfully.

Often called Value Selling or Solution Selling, this dynamic and interactive sales process replaces previously static, one-way techniques that debate the merits of competing features and functions.

While salespeople move toward creating a much more customized sales experience for each prospect, most marketing departments continue to deliver generic messaging using static collateral tools—a one-size-fits-all approach for a one-to-one world. No wonder salespeople are forced to scramble to create custom content, piecemealed from various sources, to demonstrate they have listened to the customer.

The first thing brand managers can do to help is translate their high-level positioning into street-ready value propositions and solution messaging that speak to customers the way salespeople have been trained to sell:

  • Create customer empathy by identifying and demonstrating a proper understanding of the critical do-or-die issues facing your customers. Do that for each level of the decision-making team and link it back to how they do their jobs today.
  • Next, determine and articulate the risks if they do not address these issues. Also, firmly establish and highlight the rewards if they do act. Take special care to find out how your customers will define success—determine what they want to brag about if they are successful in achieving positive results.
  • Then demonstrate how your company’s solution helps them respond specifically—and successfully—to their key do-or-die issues.

Trend #2: Dynamic, Personalized Collateral Building

Value selling has raised the bar, forever changing customer expectations about sales experiences. Customers expect company interactions to be personal, relevant, and tailored to their specific needs.

Meanwhile, marketing departments have tried to keep pace by adopting segmentation strategies, doing their best to tailor messages and create more customer-relevant positioning. However, the tools to deliver these increasingly sophisticated messages through the sales channels have lagged. So, we’ve seen a proliferation of static collateral tools designed to fit every occasion.

Unfortunately, salespeople are neither warehouse managers nor librarians, and they have difficulty tracking and finding suitable materials when needed. In response, marketers have set up sales intranets to supply 24×7 access to support materials.

While these intranets improve accessibility to materials, they don’t resolve the most significant issue facing today’s value-selling salespeople: the need to provide prospects with dynamic, personalized sales communications. With only static documentation, salespeople begin creating unique, customized documents for each sales situation.

Typically, this happens at the expense of the brand and the company. The lack of consistency between radio stations and from salesperson to salesperson—undermines the millions spent on brand awareness advertising. The extra time spent by salespeople crafting these personalized proposals, presentations, and collateral pieces keeps them from time better spent with customers.

Marketing’s big win is that every radio salesperson, even within a multi-entertainment environment, will now communicate a consistent company message. Imagine the brand-building power unleashed when sales reps begin delivering a persuasive, powerful, and pre-approved message at every point of customer contact.

Gary Begin can be contacted at:

Industry Views

Pending Business: Coffee Talk

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp

imHave you tried the $7 cup of coffee at Starbucks?

A recent visit to my neighborhood location was an eye-opener. The demographics were broader than a trip to Disneyland. The service was average, as the baristas gave a hearty Moe’s welcome shoutout, heads down cranking out the orders.

A recent study showed 63% of millennial coffee drinkers are good with that $7 price because the coffee experience made them feel good. I was wowed at the acceptance of the price point. If the average consumer goes to Starbucks 16 times a month, that is over $100 a month on coffee. No wonder there more than 16,000 locations in the U.S. We just can’t get enough!

Yes, I am a student of successful marketing no matter what the product or service is. Tide, Starbucks, iPhone – what is it about the product that drives the value proposition? Quality? My gym socks do just as well in the less expensive laundry detergent. Dependability? My iPhone needs rebooting more than I would like to admit. Consistency? Ever taste Pike Place when it is from the bottom of the canister? No product or service is flawless, yet we consistently pay more for some over others. Is it marketing, packaging, or genuine performance? A little of everything.

Let us connect to our sales world.

1) There is no shortage of Tide. Yet it is still the most expensive brand on most supermarket and big box store shelves. Consumers have paid a premium for nearly 80 years because we trust the product. And therein lies the lesson for talk radio sellers. The trust your audience has in your on-air hosts is hard-earned equity reinforced every day.

2) The sit-down experience and service in a Starbucks is unique. From Manhattan to Carmel, California, locally owned coffee shops try, and some may succeed but the overall sit-down experience and service at Starbucks is consistently high-quality, meeting our expectations no matter where you are and so price barriers come down. Lesson #2 for sellers. Is your buyer-seller exchange always at a consistent important level no matter how close your relationship with your advertiser? Even when business is down?

3) There is no way to Google that answer. Put yourself in the shoes of your advertiser, especially a first-time advertiser when the wrong copy runs, an invoice is incorrect, or another issue comes up. Is it quick and easy to resolve a discrepancy? Will you invest the time and patience to ease the process?

Our talk radio business rarely integrates intangibles when it comes to pricing. Competitive, efficiencies and demand traditionally drive pricing. Yet the talk radio personalities are the ones with all the intangibles. From political influencers and offering emergency weather information to life changing news storylines that need interpretation to become more acceptable. Yet through it all, we are still the $1 cup of coffee.

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:

Job Opportunity

Salem Media Group New York Seeking Two Sales Pros

Salem Media Group New York is seeking to recruit two “top-tiered” players with “deep sales experience” to positively impact their digital and terrestrial assets in the Big Apple. Salem stations inim NYC include WMCA “The Mission” and WNYM “AM 970 The Answer.” This is a fantastic opportunity for the right individuals. VP/GM Jerry Crowley who has been running Salem’s NYC market for 11 years, tells TALKERS, “I know our future is stronger than ever and that’s based on reality – contrary to how a lot of broadcasters think. We are looking for two multi-talented folks to participate in harnessing the power of the number one Christian/conservative cluster in America. Interested candidates should contact or call 212-857-9640.

Industry News

Mildred Carter Mentoring Program Application Now Open

Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio, Inc (MIW) announces that the application window for its 2023-2024 Mildred Carter Mentoring Program is now open through November 3. Established in 2002, MIW’s heritage annual mentoring initiative connects mentees with accomplished women recognized asim leaders, mentors, and game changers within all aspects of radio broadcasting. Four candidates from the radio broadcasting industry – within all of the disciplines of radio including sales, marketing, programming, and digital – will be selected for the 2023- 2024 program. MIW board president Ruth Presslaff comments, “We are so pleased to launch the Mildred Carter mentorship program with the very generous and consistent support of Beasley Media Group and Entravision. Based on our application pool, it’s clear there’s a great need for mentoring and we are here for it.” Find out more about the program here.

Industry Views

Pending Business: When it Matters Most

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp

imIt may seem impossible, but you need to stay in your lane.

As we live through another dark chapter in world history, staying focused on what we do in sales and marketing will be a nearly impossible challenge. We live in a 24/7, always-on world constantly updating everything from everywhere.

As we work on the sales, marketing and management side, the news/talk and information programming side are in hyper mode logging on, weighing in, competing to never miss a beat. I remember when time stood still as the events of 9/11 shocked the world and time stood still. Talk radio hosts, producers and news departments tried their best to digest the events and offer some level of understanding to a listening audience. For the first time ever, the mainland of the United States of America had been attacked.

And here we are, frozen again. This time the events unfolded halfway around the world. Once again shock, unspeakable actions, thousands of innocent deaths, massive destruction. If you have been doing this long enough, we do have some level of experience with shocking events.

Once again, our talk radio hosts, producers and news teams will be a go-to source for millions of listeners across the country. How do we stay focused, selling, marketing, prospecting as local communities react to all this that is unfolding halfway around the world?

— Our thoughts and prayers are with those in harm’s way. As difficult as it may be, try and keep the opinionated politics away from your sales process.

— Keep the conversation neutral. A challenge for sure. If you are prepared there’s always positive to bring to your sales call.

— The calendar never quits. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, are all around the corner and with that a last-minute marketing opportunity.

— Why are 66% of the U.S. adults over 40 overweight?  Blame the men, we always skew those numbers. Just helping with a little small talk …

As challenging as the next few days and weeks may become, your news/talk radio station will become an important resource for adults on the go who need to know. As you formulate your presentations, stay focused on the unique benefits only your radio station’s lineup can deliver in times of crisis. Your on-air talent have earned the trust of the audience the old-fashioned way…. by being there when it mattered most.

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: In Radio Sales, It Pays to Be a Great Listener

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp

Do you still struggle with keeping the dialogue moving in the right direction on your sales calls? Let’s face it, if you are not careful you could violate one of the golden rules of selling talk radio – be a great listener.

First calls are the most difficult, especially in this era of Zoom, Teams, etc. You try your best to develop rapport, build chemistry and move through a needs analysis as you learn about your potential advertiser. High achieving sellers have that special skill of blending questions and fun facts that build common ground while navigating the needs analysis through a range of questions designed to qualify the prospect and confirm a follow-up call.

Sounds simple enough, but why do most sellers fall short in the starting blocks. There is no mystery here to solve, this is Selling 101 that starts with preparation and ends with a commission check. Let’s walk through some start points:

If you are responsible for any of the 26.5 billion minutes viewed of “Suits” on Netflix, you know that Harvey Spector (lead character) earned millions doing homework and knowing how to ask the right questions. How about you? Are you prepared to ask the right questions and listen to the answers that will lead you to comeback with the right proposal? Sometimes keeping the dialogue moving can be challenging. Perhaps you’ve asked too many questions that went nowhere or just resulted in one-word answers. What to do? A recent article in Make It quoted Matt Abrahams, a public speaking expert at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, who suggests saying, “Tell me more” during a conversation is the secret sauce behind improving the communication flow.

Makes sense. Showing genuine interest in what your advertiser is saying, allowing more information to be shared, with you spending more time as the listener helps everyone develop better rapport and move closer to a win-win. I have always been a big fan of another Golden Rule of Sales: “Words matter.” Have you ever finished a call and asked yourself, “Why did I say that!?” It all goes back to preparation. If you know what to ask, how to allow your advertiser to expand on a key point, and do more listening than talking, your sales should increase, and your commission checks will show it!

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: Still Learning

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp

I think it was the great Michelangelo who said, “I’m still learning.” Three simple words that can make or break any of us in marketing.

I am still amazed at the success and customer loyalty at Trader Joe’s. Why is it that a homespun marketing approach develops loyalty, when I have found more competitive prices and sometimes higher quality foods elsewhere?

Yet there I was lost in the regular South Florida Sunday crowd, standing in line, basket-to-basket, ready to check out. I have never heard or seen an ad for Trader Joe’s, yet the store was packed. The scene at the 59th Street store in Manhattan was quite similar last year when I spent three months in the city, or the one in D.C. close to my daughter’s home, even the Trader Joe’s in Sandy Springs, Georgia near my other daughter’s home was slammed on a Sunday three years ago.

Too much information for a column on sales and marketing?  Believe it or not, I still can’t figure out how with no frequent buyer program, super discounts, or incentive marketing I became such a frequent shopper. I guess just like Michelangelo, I’m still learning.

Here is what I have learned from Trader Joe’s that connects the dots to our sales and marketing world.

— Keep it simple. Ever notice how the prices are clear, easy to read and seem to present a perceived value? How does your presentation packaging stand up? Does it take an IT expert to understand how to interpret your computer driven proposals?

— Everyone has something positive to say. I have never heard any of the folks at any of those locations say a negative word, even when parking was a game of musical cars. How about you? Are still blaming the boss for higher pricing or tighter credit?

— Variety is in the eye of the customer. Other stores with more square footage have greater variety. Sometimes you need it, most of the time you don’t. How many times have you thought to yourself, “There are just too many options in this pitch.”

— Got a complaint? We can fix that. Somebody please show us a local radio station training for excellent customer service. It just isn’t a long-term commitment. Maybe a perceived unnecessary expense in our business.

— Consistency. Like every successful enterprise that is public facing, consistency and dependability build trust and customer loyalty. How about us?

Sales and marketing are a dynamic process that is always adjusting to the competitive landscape and the needs of the customer. And that is why we should all follow Michelangelo’s lead and never stop learning.

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 News

Cressy Walton Named VP of Sales at iHeartMedia Phoenix

iHeartMedia names Cressy Walton vice president of sales for the Phoenix Region, effective October 9. She most recently served with Alpha Media Portland as director of sales. The University of Arizonaim grad began her career in the Phoenix market. Phoenix region SVP of sales Nancie Sullivan comments, “I couldn’t be more thrilled to have Cressy join our team here in Phoenix. With her knowledge of the market and her extensive experience, she will be an integral part of the leadership team who will continue to strengthen our position in the market and in the Phoenix ad community.”

Industry News

Sullivan Promoted to SVP of Sales for iHeartMedia Phoenix Region

iHeartMedia announces that sales pro Nancie Sullivan is promoted from VP of sales to SVP of salesim for the Phoenix Region that includes news/talk KFYI-AM and sports talk KGME, plus six music brands. iHeartMedia Phoenix region president Linda Little says, “I am thrilled to have Nancie step into this role and lead our Phoenix sales team to the next level. I know Nancie will bring her passion, creativity and leadership talents to help us further grow our business and partnerships.”

Industry News

Bill Davis Named VP of Sales for iHeartMedia Chicago

iHeartMedia appoints Bill Davis vice president of sales for the Chicago Region, effective immediately. The Chicago market includes WMFN-AM, Black Information Network and seven music brands. Davis returns toim iHeartMedia Chicago where he previously served as director of national sales after having served most recently with TelevisaUnivision Chicago. He began his radio sales career with WTOP-AM and WASH-FM in Washington, DC. iHeartMedia Chicago SVP of sales Adam Kurtz says, “Bill’s media experience, specifically in the Chicago market, will undoubtedly contribute to the continued growth of our team. I am looking forward to working with him to achieve maximum revenue success.”

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 News

Good Karma Brands to Handle Sales for ESPN Radio

According to a piece by John Ourand at Sports Business Journal, ESPN has struck a deal to have Good Karma Brands handle sales for the ESPN Radio network and its ESPN podcasts. ESPN will remain in charge of theim content, distribution and marketing its audio segment. Good Karma chief Craig Karmazin tells SBJ, “This is the culmination of what we’ve been working towards for the last 20-plus years. For us over the last 20 years, we’ve been focused on the medium and focused on the ESPN brand. Now for us to be able to run the sales operations of the entire network and the podcast business, it truly is like a culmination of everything we’ve been working towards in this partnership with them.” Read the Sports Business Journal story here.

Industry Views

Don’t Leave Cash on the Nightstand

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

imAmazing fact: In ancient times, from 1962-1972, the highest-paid on-air talent in New York City was “an overnight guy.” He was paid salary plus sales response. I’m talking about Long John Nebel on WOR, WNBC, then WMCA. Long John’s live reads moved product because his audience was captive. One-to-one his listeners were attached to their radios in the truck cab, night watchman’s building lobby, parents pacing with their babies, students cramming. His background was not in radio; he was a skilled auctioneer. Obviously, the same listeners exist today – and are anxious for someone to talk to them. Check out this old clip of Nebel in action:

One of today’s bizarre misconceptions is that overnights/late nights are not important for sales or audience share. Totally and completely wrong!

— As an executive, when launching a new format, any new format, the first time period I staffed was overnights. Late-night, overnight is the doorway to a station. Listening patterns to AM drive are habitual, hard to change. Late night listening is discretionary. Audiences will sample new radio offerings when they seek pure entertainment rather than essential utility elements.

— Late-night cume feeds morning drive. Study the flow of audience from late-night to morning drive, you will be surprised how much of the AM drive cume depends on the last station heard before turning off the radio.

— No distractions. It is easier to sell any product or idea to a person who is giving you 100% of their attention rather than rushing to work, calming the kids and remembering to avoid road construction. As George Noory’s success confirms, the percent of listeners who act on a commercial message is higher overnights than at any other time period.

— Every format has a default hour – one hour of the day when it will have its largest audience share. For all-news, for example, it’s always 5:00 am – 6:00 am. Lite FM’s, 1:00 pm. Live, local talk: 11:00 pm.  Listeners seek companionship, sympathy and empathy from talk shows.  If a station offers a “best of” at 11:00 pm, it is ignoring the built-in strategic advantage of the talk format. 11:00 pm is primetime.

— Rate integrity. A station may charge top dollar for morning drive. Upon further study those high rates usually come with nighttime bonus spots.  Bonus spots cut the rate in half. The nighttime results story can stand on its own and command premium pricing without bonusing.

Walter Sabo was the youngest executive vice president in the history of NBC. The youngest VP in the history of ABC. He was a consultant to RKO General longer than Bill Drake. Walter was the in-house consultant to Sirius for eight years. He has never written a resume. Contact him at or mobile 646-678-1110. Hear Walter Sterling at

Industry Views

Pending Business: Good News Bad News

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp

Survey says, the good news is, 49% of local direct advertisers use AM/FM radio.

The bad news is, the same survey says, 65% of that same group uses social media advertising. Advantage +16% for the digital team. The good news is, you are comfortable selling/managing digital and social media vehicles because like it or not your local advertiser is leaning in on the digital/social media advertising opportunity.

Survey says, more bad news, 54% of the local direct advertiser group is buying event-sponsorships. The good news is, you are comfortable selling/managing event-sponsorships because like it or not your local advertiser is leaning in on the event-sponsorship advertising opportunity.

Now for the closer, survey says, over 50% of these local advertisers are now budgeting only 2% of gross revenues on advertising. Thank you Borrell for the researched eye-opener and thank you pandemic for shrinking the local advertiser’s marketing dollar.

Show of hands, please, anyone reading this totally surprised? The online digital/social media advertising world has been on a double-digit growth tear as long as anyone can remember. The growth continues as AM/FM sellers stand by and watch the parade go by, sorry guys. The facts are… there are roughly 310 million smartphones in the U.S. According to the last Edison survey, 68% of U.S. homes own 1.5 radios. In round numbers 338 million radios at home. Wait, what? Are there almost as many smartphones as AM/FM radios at home? Anyone own more than one smartphone? I thought there was a radio in almost every room in your home. Not anymore, you say? Quite different from the average five radios per household when many reading this column earned their first double digit commission check as a member of that fun loving sales team. The times are a changin’ and I hope you are changing with the times. Let us start here:

Update your value proposition for “Why Radio?” Make it current and relevant to today’s media ecosystem.

Sharpen your new selling skills. Get ahead of the curve and leave your competitors in the dust.

Ask yourself, “What happened?” The numbers of smartphone users are growing. Maybe not as fast as in the past but growing. The number of AM/FM radios in the home is shrinking. Look to your leadership for some answers.

When the trend is NOT your friend, it’s time to think like the great leaders who built our country and media empires, “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.”

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: