Get off your Knees

In the radio industry we continually face challenges and how we view these obstacles defines us. Do you choose to see challenges and problems as opportunities or obstacles?

It has long been my belief that the people who work in the radio industry do more damage to the industry than any competitor could ever wreak. We’re just not good at our own PR.

Over recent years I’ve heard people in the industry state things like “Radio is dying”, “No one listens anymore”; I’ve even had radio sales people tell me “Advertising doesn’t work (that’s because we keep underselling our clients)”.

If we choose to see things as obstacles, then the challenges we face will be viewed as problems; problems that need to be overcome. It’s not a healthy way to run any business is it, let alone an entire industry?

Sure, there is a lot to contend with these days but we do get to choose. Are you simply sitting around lamenting the good old days of radio and hanging on for grim death? Or are you standing up ready to fight the good fight?

Far too much of our time is spent focused on misery – do you think things like “I can’t”, “I won’t”, “I don’t want to” and “I shouldn’t have too” during your work day?

It was Henry Ford who said “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.”

At the heart of this truism Ford is of course saying if you think your radio station will die – it will. If you think the radio industry is under siege – it is. If you think you don’t deserve success – you don’t; and if you think you won’t make your next sale – it’s unlikely you will.

Conversely Ford is also saying if you believe you can, you will. But we need more than one or two people in the industry ‘believing’ don’t we? If the entire radio industry, all the broadcast associations, everyone in your station from the receptionist to the janitor, everyone, is moving forward together as an industry, then our success will take care of itself.

So what is it we should be thinking about in a positive way every day? The future? Our listeners? Our formats? Our advertisers? Our local community? Our relevance? Our substance, or what we give back to our communities? Personally I believe a radio station that makes nothing but money is a poor business – it’s easy to see the financial carnage just take a look around at the current state of the industry.

From the micro to the macro we need to see our current challenges as guides lighting the way to the future – this will help us achieve more, develop further and ultimately actualize more of our individual and collective abilities and goals.

The radio industry should focus on the areas of greatest concern. An engaged and happy audience and happy successful advertisers.

How do we define the commercial radio industries key vision?

Is there one?

There are so many opinions out there in terms of developing a vision for radio – too much in fact, and sadly most of it is only rhetoric. We need to guard against creating a vision that is too broad, too encompassing and ultimately a vision that is too generic, so that it eventually says nothing all. We need to be mindful of the temptation that focuses on quantity instead of quality. A plethora of ideas and information – can we use it all? No. If a new idea comes along – do we suddenly throw out the old in pursuit of the miracle format?

“Should I change my format to a male skew or woman 35+?” No.

So, what do we do? Everyone in the radio industry needs to be committed to defining our vision. We need to draw on tried-and-tested experience and hold onto what works, we need to introduce new thinking and approaches where feasible and we need to stop what isn’t working.

We need to create a vision whereby Radio becomes synonymous with excellence, innovation, honour, integrity and outstanding quality and service. We need to promise less and deliver more – every single day.

Radio needs to be local and live. It needs to sit itself at the heart of every community – and become the glue that holds these communities together.

Personally I believe the secret to the ongoing success of radio is direct or local money – but that’s not new news is it? Ultimately I believe the thing that will save local businesses is local radio; and I believe the thing that will save radio is local business.

Sales people desperately need to be trained and trained efficiently to have broader and better conversations with small to medium sized enterprises; I believe GM’s, GSM’s, and DOS’s need to roll up their sleeves and get out into the market.

I believe radio needs to get off its knees – we’re not a secondary medium – we never were.

I believe sales people need to stop under-selling airtime; and I believe automation needs to be heard only in elevators.

I know I don’t have all the answers but what I do know is if we don’t come together (the entire industry) we will die not with a bang but a whimper.

Sell without regret.

Michael Tate: Sales Director International – NRS Media 

A foundation employee during its initial five year start-up phase Michael Tate has returned to NRS Media after 15 years of working internationally to take up tenure as the company’s Sales Director in its International office.

Michael has a vast knowledge of effective media use, advertising and advertising sales management built over the last 25 years working with some of the world’s largest TV and radio groups. Based in San Francisco for over 10 years, he also worked ‘client-side’ in a National Media appointment for the Toyota Motor Corporation in Australia; coordinating all the media buying decisions for the auto giant helping Toyota become the No.1 seller of motor vehicles.

Over the last decade Michael has advised all types of companies around the world on best effect advertising via over 3500 workshops attended by over 45,000 business owners and managers, generating over $60,000,000 in direct sales advertising revenue.

He is a highly sought after key-note speaker and advertising sales trainer at major industry bodies like the Radio Advertising Bureau, the Texas Broadcasters Association, and the Oregon Association of Broadcasters. Tate has successfully worked with advertising sales managers, their staff and clients in 12 countries including the USA, UK, Canada, Ireland, Norway, Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Philippines and Australia.

You can find out more about NRS Media here or view Michael’s Linked In profile here.

Michael Tate has joined the team of Radio Today with weekly insights.

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