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Small Market Operators Say Radio Can Make Gains as Print, TV Fall

Getting clients to re-purpose money from TV, print and put it in radio

I wanted to share some of the specific ways three small-to mid-market broadcasters shared on the recent Broadcast Electronics Webinar for getting through the economic downturn.

Ron Davis, the National Chairman of the Small Market Operators Caucus and Montana station owner, said his group is doing well “but this national news is killing us,” meaning it makes it harder to tell sales prospects that radio ads can help them. Noting that TV and newspaper’s ad numbers are down, he said there are now car dealers in his area who took the money they had been spending from newspapers and put that into radio, amounting to some $1,600 a month from one of those advertisers.

Larry Patrick, who owns Legend Communications, which operates stations in Wyoming among other markets, said, “We are reaching out to clients who are hurting, like car dealers who’ve seen their national support fall.” He’s seen local newspapers reduce how many days they’re publishing or folding completely and predicts many more will retrench “and find themselves not relevant anymore.” By contrast, radio is relevant with digital delivery, he said.

Bruce Goldsen, who owns Jackson Radio Works Inc., in Jackson, Mich., said his stations are working to get new advertisers like dentists and bankruptcy attorneys. A precious metals dealer who now advertises with the radio group “is doing a brisk business,” Goldsen noted. His three stations are trying to work with car dealers on special incentives to bring in revenue … like highlighting used cars and service departments “to tide them over.”

All the participants recommended going after medical accounts as an example of non-traditional revenue. Examples given were ophthalmologists, clinics and medical services companies like oxygen or home health care or speech language therapists.