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“The Next Round” Deploys Marketron Traffic

Sports podcast uses the platform to streamline ad workflows and monetize

Radio World Buyer’s Guide articles are intended to help readers understand why their colleagues chose particular products to solve various technical situations. This month’s articles focus on products automation.

Fifty-seven percent of Americans have listened to a podcast; 80 million say they are weekly listeners. With so many topics, from true crime to famous faces lending their voice to the medium, there’s a podcast for everyone.

Sports talk radio has long been a fan favorite, and podcasts take that to the next level, as is the case with “The Next Round,” which launched in August 2021 and deploys Marketron Traffic.

Radio veterans took the leap on the venture to create a community to discuss all things sports, with a focus on the Southeastern Conference, the famous SEC. Marketron said the team had the talent and most technology in place but lacked a way to streamline ad workflows and monetize the podcast. 

Operations Manager Jon Lunceford approached another radio traffic provider familiar with monetizing podcasts. “Their answer was that it would take six months to get up and running, and we needed to launch by the beginning of college football season,” Lunceford said.

The alternative would have been an entirely manual workflow with spreadsheets. That would have been time-intensive, prone to error and not scalable. The sales director at “The Next Round” encouraged Lunceford to contact Marketron.

[Read More Buyers Guide Reviews Here]

From left: Ryan Brown, Lance Taylor, Jim Dunaway and Rockstar.

Run a podcast like a station

“The key to scheduling ads and billing for them was to simplify it and run it as a station setup in Marketron Traffic,” according to the software company.

“The podcast runs live on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. After the live airing, it loops for the next 20 hours. That means one spot has six plays in a 24-hour cycle.”

The log looks like a station and accommodates both spots and live reads. The traffic system works as it would with broadcast, streamlining the sales, execution, billing and reporting of advertising.

They use the system as a traditional radio station would, but things are only live for those four hours. On holidays or other breaks from the show, they don’t have to do anything special. Lunceford and others can enter orders and collect the necessary information for fulfillment, continuity, invoicing and reporting. The traffic system also integrates with their automation system.

One of the biggest differentiators for Lunceford was access. The system is cloud-based, as opposed to many platforms that are only on-premises. “It’s easy to make changes on the fly from anywhere,” he said.

The integrated system helps with billing, too. “We have no problems with end-of-month reconciliation and can send electronic invoices to customers.”

The implementation was accelerated to meet the August debut. It was ready to go in 15 days, thanks to a determined onboarding team and Lunceford’s traffic system knowledge. He reports that the operation was profitable in only 90 days and that “The Next Round” podcast continues to grow and gain more advertisers beyond its metro area.