WITF Rethinks Traffic Management - Radio World

WITF Rethinks Traffic Management

BroadView’s traffic bureau helps station reorganize workflow and catch its breath
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HARRISBURG, Pa. — The upside to the economic downturn has been the opportunity to rethink and rework our operations by utilizing BroadView Software’s Traffic Bureau service.

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In simple terms, Traffic Bureau offloads the day-to-day mechanics of traffic management. You send them the pieces and they send back a finished log. This saves money and staff time compared to traditional in-house traffic systems.

Our unexpected value-add came from the setup for Traffic Bureau. BroadView shepherded us through a review of our business practices. Unexpectedly, this has opened the door for us to transform our operations. We have reallocated resources to deliver more to our underwriters and audience.

Juggling

WITF is a multimedia communications network serving communities in central Pennsylvania. We are engaged in bringing forward a workable new business model for public service to fit the emerging multiplatform media landscape.

In addition to NPR affiliates WITF(FM) and WYPM(FM), we have WITF(TV) as well as numerous online and on-demand outlets.

Like many broadcasters, we’ve had to do more with less as the economic climate soured. This pressed staff to the limit. With everyone working at full capacity, we’d have a panic when anyone had a day off. A vacation could cause a crisis.

The stress exacted an enormous price on staff as we scrambled through our schedules, contracts and orders with attendant ad copy, production and the rest. Putting out fires day after day, we found ourselves getting through as best we could rather than being focused on creating the best in broadcasting.

This was not sustainable. We needed to find new ways to save money; more important, we needed to find some time to catch our breath.

BroadView’s Traffic Manager service offered a way out. We had adopted their unified broadcast management suite several years ago but simply could not muster the manpower needed to get the maximum benefits. They suggested that we make a fresh start with Traffic Bureau.

Discussing the details of having them take charge of the day-to-day mechanics of our traffic management, we learned more about ourselves.

BroadView’s review process, and the detailed questions they asked, created the occasion to redesign our workflow. Longstanding functions within the organization changed, most notably the way we carried out core functions including promotions and underwriting.

On a nuts-and-bolts level, the most important changes came from eliminating many of the ad hoc methods that required manual intervention.

For example, promos had been “fillers” placed randomly into unsold avails. Now we have a schedule to place promos to the greatest advantage.

We used to lose revenue because logs routinely were exported with underwriter spots in Exceptions. Now, this has stopped altogether.

Overall, we’ve gone from getting the log exported on time, regardless of the quality, to a total commitment to log quality, accuracy and timeliness.

Turnaround

This has affected everything touching traffic.

We used to have a lot of manual intervention in gathering information with notes written in the margins of orders and the like. Copy for promos and underwriting came from all quarters, creating a jumble of messaging. Staff put in overtime after hours and on weekends to pull the loose threads together.

Now, by working smarter through an efficient workflow, we’ve unified our copywriting and have been able to free up time needed to ensure continuity in our messaging.

BroadView’s client service was excellent. They listened attentively, saw beyond what we were doing and gently guided us to what needed to be done to accomplish our goals. Rather than force us into some preexisting template for how they thought we should work, they guided us to show them how we could work best. Now that we’re up and running, we are impressed with the care and quality demonstrated daily.

We turned to Traffic Bureau as a stopgap measure to save money and to relieve pressure. But the greatest deliverable we receive from Traffic Bureau isn’t the daily logs. It’s the fact that we’re no longer in reaction mode numbed by constant anxiety. We’ve eliminated unnecessary stress and have a far more livable workplace. This has freed us to carry out strategic initiatives including a massive rebranding and reimaging project. We’ve had a total turnaround from surviving to thriving.

I should add that BroadView’s flexibility leaves the door open for us to return to the in-house traffic management system of our choice. So broadcasters considering a change in traffic systems may look to Traffic Bureau as an effective transition strategy that delivers value-adds throughout your organization.

Ron Hetrick III is vice president of operational excellence with WITF(FM).

For information, contact BroadView Software in Ontario at (416) 778-0623 or visit
www.radiobroadview.com.

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