Sunday Soapbox: Do Low Radio Ratings Automatically Mean Lower Income?

Staff Writer

Wayne Allen has worked in metro markets in Brisbane, Newcastle, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Adelaide, in all areas including content, music, on air, sales, journalism, production, promotions and his passionate speciality is all genres of commercial music programming.

Today, Wayne  gets on the Radio Today Sunday Soapbox and asks the question

Do Low Radio Ratings Automatically Mean Lower Income?


Have you noticed how representation from media sales teams are often absent from most radio forum posts? The passion from a creative person usually exceeds the view of a more conservative, sales personality.

In simplistic terms radio is divided into two halves, the Sales driven side and the Creative area side. Successful sales people display a genuine and open demeanour with a detailed knowledge of the product and the ability to show empathy toward realistic buyer needs and expectations.

Some of the most successful 'result' oriented direct radio sales people are those who have had on air experience. You may know many 'Sales' people who sell very well and earn a handsome income but do they genuinely care about client success? Do they follow up and work with the client to build a long term relationship or are they simply in the numbers game.

In my media career I have sold radio, television and print as well as many other products and any sales pro will tell you, a business person picks up on your enthusiasm, not only for the mechanics of your medium but more importantly your desire to support and help the business generate increased income and improve their marketing knowledge.

Years ago, on air talent were required to 'sell' product live on air using their personality, humour and a connection with the advertiser. The ability to 'ad-lib' telling a short story about the client without being 'pushy' took practice and experience and to also stay within time constraints. Times have changed and a 'gun' sales person must work so much harder to get results in 2014 since the demise of the animated live read and the changing face of content.

The key word for lower rating stations is 'results'. The guys at the top rating station convince an easy target advertiser with impressive figures, sign them up and walk away. No one will suggest the message will not work on a number one demographic to some degree but there are conditions. The spot will be hidden away somewhere in a 3 to 5 minutes add break for starters.

Advertising placement and vehicle choice is not simple and it means careful consideration on how the dollars are directed. I have often recommended an alternative station for some of my client's dollars. When your client respects your sales advice they will more than likely increase the spend at some stage.

If you are given the chance to represent a lower rating station there are advantages. The commercial load is less so there is greater chance the message will be recognised. The unit cost is less so the spend can be more efficient. The creative team will usually have more time to work on your client's presentation. However as a well organised sales consultant you will need to work much smarter and usually much harder.

Most importantly a lower rating broadcaster must support every one of their advertisers. Prove that you get results and generate income and your rates need not be that much lower. Spread the word to advertisers who are spending big with the competition and show then they can have similar profits for less expenditure.

Don't play the ratings game, play the results card; this is what really matters to a client. A clever sales team can have a winning hand. Training that team to take advantage of the industry alternatives is another area. Human nature prefers the easy way out.

Finally, everybody's opinion has value but personal opinions require a name and practical industry experience to be most relevant. Most of us will be interested in what you have done in your career that supports your view.


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