Eric Hoppe stands behind Sara Enriquez, director of sales and marketing at Progressive Concepts. With the low-power FM filing window coming in October, we checked in with Eric Hoppe, founder of equipment supplier Progressive Concepts, which is active in that market sector.
As an equipment supplier, what sector or industry category is hottest for you right now?
We are enjoying strong sales in the LPFM transmitter market, mixing boards, coaxial cable assemblies and antennas. Some customers are actually buying LPFM equipment in anticipation of receiving their license.
Overall what kind of interest are you getting from would-be applicants?
Progressive is fielding questions from would-be LPFM broadcasters on an almost daily basis. Most are curious as to how they will go about getting an LPFM license. Progressive Concepts has partnered with an FCC consultant who handles all of our customers’ applications for us. Once the applicant has been issued their construction permit, they can then proceed with their equipment purchase through Progressive Concepts.
What’s the most important advice you can give right now to an LPFM hopeful?
If you don’t use Progressive Concepts to assist you with your LPFM license application, at least use a reputable attorney, consultant or broadcast engineer to make sure the application is filed properly. Otherwise, you may get rejected right out of the gate. Another important point is to make sure they use an FCC type certified FM transmitter for their LPFM. FCC regulations require all LPFM transmitters to be FCC certified, and all of the transmitters that Progressive Concepts offers for use on LPFM are in fact FCC certified.
How would you describe the overall market for U.S. radio broadcast capital expenditures right now?
We’re seeing lower sales numbers right now than we have in past years, however sales remain robust despite the slow economy.
What’s the cap-ex outlook for 2014?
We expect capital expenditures to increase in 2014, mainly from increased activity in the LPFM market.
How can U.S. radio broadcasters position themselves to succeed, in this era of new streaming and multimedia platforms in the car and on our phones?
I personally believe that FM and LPFM are here to stay. I don’t think that the other forms of media will detract from this market. FM and LPFM radio is a unique form of media that, in my opinion, can’t be replaced by other forms of media. Other technologies may be ancillary to, and in some cases complimentary to, free-air FM and LPFM broadcasting, but they will not replace or endanger its viability.
You have a new website; what’s notable about it?
The new site is unique in that there are no prices displayed at all. Customers put products into their “shopping cart” in order to receive a custom quote from us. In this way, Progressive doesn’t have to comply with minimum advertised price (or MAP) policies promulgated by our vendors; and this leaves us free to quote our customers the lowest possible prices. We offer a “Price Match Guarantee” to prove it. The site also includes a “specials” tab that displays monthly sales and special deals. To celebrate the launch we’re offering discounted prices on equipment as well as shipping, and giving away prizes like HDTV sets, microphones and headphones. The site is www.progressive-concepts.com.
Related: FCC to Hold LPFM Webinar (Sept. 2013)