a lesson from the big boys and incorporate sponsorships into your
online presence. Here, Clear Channel’s WLTW(FM) in New York
promotes the iHeartRadio Music Festival; note the multiple Pepsi
went on a few sales calls; our last stop was with a beer distributor.
You can imagine how unhappy he was when he learned that the new GSM
was finally putting an end to the station’s “bonus” policy.
following version of his diatribe to our sales rep is a lot cleaner
than the original: “Bull turkey! The last time I signed an annual
with you guys, I got a thousand bonus spots, online ads were free and
you gave me five free bar appearances. You think I’m gonna take
this sugar-filled news from you sitting down?”
do radio station sales people give away the store for free? Because
they can! It takes a strong general sales manager to change the
policy and stick with it long enough for clients to reset
expectations. The long and short of it is that, yes, this is a fight
that can be won with stick-to-it-ness and compromise. It may mean
dropping rates temporarily for certain clients, or coming up with
special incentives such as weekend trips, but it must be done.
skeptics, I can state only that I’ve witnessed many stations
successfully make the transition. There is a basic economic premise
that says a price can be reset if the customer can believe the logic
behind it. And this is indeed a logical change because no
businessperson truly believes a product should be free.
tackle online sales first, as this is a growth area for many, but
traditionally poorly monetized by radio.
and simple, no matter what your uniques or pageviews
amount to, they will not be large enough to compete with the big
guns. The traffic numbers from major national sites will kill you in
your own city. However, your advantage is that you can tap into
something they can’t: Local sponsorships, section by section.
can include complete page takeovers with client branding covering the
sides, logo at the top of each page and fixed pre-roll on any video
that runs in that particular section.
owning a piece of the action is a lot more appealing, and certainly
more effective, than just buying banner ads at a cost-per-thousand
from a big site. Be sure to include the client name when promoting
the site on-air, and the fact that this is included in the price of
certain sections, station clusters may want to push the sponsorship
concept across all the station sites. For example, weather on each
site could have the same sponsor.
social media be sponsored? You bet! You must be careful not to
violate the terms of service of Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, which
you can find easily on those sites. Your clients will be most
interested in how you can help them obtain more followers. Accomplish
this through contesting, personality endorsements and incentive
campaigns; for example, “The first 50 people who follow PJ’s
Nightclub on Twitter get free tickets to Thursday night’s dance
say that SMS (text) has seen its day. Don’t believe them. While the
media world may be crazy about Twitter, the average person is still
texting like crazy. Reaching these folks on their mobile phones with
real information and advertising can be quite rewarding.
on how active you are with texting, you may wish to sell a
sponsorship monthly or annually. Some texting systems allow listeners
to sign up for scores and other bits of info, all of which can
contain sponsor messages.
you have radio and websites, you are in an excellent position to help
any company that uses photography or video to promote or sell what
they do. Examples: Wedding and event planners have pics to share and
use to sell their services; websites such as local sports blogs need
traffic awareness; even golf courses love to show off their grounds.
Your tactic is to get pics up on Instagram or on your own site and
use those to drive interest in commercial products.
those bonus spots? They are the bane of our industry. If you have to
utilize inventory to lower cost per point, at least assign a
reasonable dollar figure. Besides, at the end of the day, a client
who pays nothing to get something won’t respect you in the morning.
Lapidus is president of Lapidus Media. Reach him at