Category: Sales

Local Talent Can Become Indispensable

| September 22, 2014

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

 

cookewriterBLOCK ISLAND, RI — Before all the firings radio has suffered since, it might’ve seemed overstated when – four years ago — I wrote here: “tough decisions are being made, in meetings you’re not invited to.  Possibly in meetings your boss is not invited to.”

My column then declared that, “if you’re in radio, you’re in sales;” and offered tips for improving the endorsement spots that only local personalities can deliver, and other ways to become a more conspicuous contributor to your station’s revenue.  ICYMI: http://www.radio-info.com/2012/11/02/now-that-youre-in-sales/

Cutbacks since then – and, likely, still to come – only underline the need for on-air talent to be as sales-supportive as possible, if not actually carrying a list.  To that end, this guidance about writing effective commercial copy, a task talent is often better-at than station reps, whose time is better spent pounding the pavement.

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Words

| September 12, 2014

Al Herskovitz
H&H Communications
President

 

herskovitzwriterBRADENTON, FL — Like everything else in today’s world, language is changing, and language in radio commercials is changing with it.  New phrases and descriptive terms are popping up all over the place. Even a venerable old clothing retailer, Abercrombie & Fitch, is planning to drop its long-running identification and is reported to be working on a new logo yet to be revealed.  And are you familiar with “YP?”  This is the way the Yellow Pages is now labeling itself.  That big, fat, old  yellow book that used to materialize on your doorstep is all but gone.  It’s now a website where you tap in your desired category and a listing of choices appears for your specific area.  You can even download coupons.  A heavy national radio ad campaign is currently underway.

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Talk Station that “Doesn’t Need to Sell Advertising to Make Lots of Money” Looking for Ad Sales Heavyweight to Make Lots MORE Money

| July 28, 2014

By Mona Lipschitz
TALKERS
Staff Writer

 

lipschitzmonawriterSANTA CRUZ — Michael Zwerling, the eccentric owner of one of the nation’s leading independent local talk radio stations, KSCO AM 1080, Santa Cruz/Monterey/Salinas/Silicon Valley, is looking for a general manager/sales manager to bring his station’s monthly ad billing up from “a laughable $30,000 per month” (his words not ours) to a “more respectable and completely doable $300,000 per month.”

Asked how a station billing only $30,000 in monthly ad revenue could be considered anything even REMOTELY deserving of being described as “one of the nation’s leading independent local talk radio stations,” Zwerling retorts, “Easy — ad sales have never been our focus in the past; we have done and continue to do very well, thank you, with our ‘royalties from radio’ revenue model we have employed for nearly 18 years.  Yet we continue to serve our communities FAR better than most corporate-owned stations, and far better than most other independent stations that can’t AFFORD to serve their communities.”

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Bricks and Bouquets

| July 17, 2014

Al Herskovitz
H&H Communications
President

 

herskovitzwriterBRADENTON, Fla. — Topic A in all conversations I have with broadcasters is about radio’s pending doom.  The woe-is-me and the finger pointing invariably aims at our new-tech world where anybody can be a talk show host if they possess one of the many available space-age devices… and anybody can listen to an infinite number of unlicensed shows and networks on a variety of readily available “devices” that are not AM/FM “radios.”  I hesitate to name these devices because by the time I finish this sentence there will be a new one.

This is the easiest way to cast blame without looking into our own house.  I listen to a lot of radio and have a whole bunch of radios around my home and office from big, boxy ones to a couple real tiny ones that’ll fit into my pocket as I do my exercise hike around the neighborhood.

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Holding Hands at the Talkers Conference: The Importance of Getting Close to the Advertisers

| June 24, 2014

Al Herskovitz
H&H Communications
President

 

herskovitzwriterBRADENTON, FL — One of the many valuable side-effects of attending a TALKERS conference is the opportunity to meet face-to-face with a number of folks with whom you communicate only by phone or email.  In addition to the onstage presentations at Talkers New York 2014 held this past Friday (6/20), it was a unique opportunity to discuss and explore some of the current challenges facing the talk media — particularly those offered only moments prior from the podium.  At lunch, between sessions and during the cocktail hour I found myself in the midst of several of these spirited exchanges.

Regarding the slowly, stuttering recovery of the national economy, within my various knots of conversers, it was clear that one issue dominated all others — advertising sales.  It was agreed that sales never have been really easy, but one element of the process has become far more important.  It is servicing the account after the sale has been made.  All acknowledged that advertisers are demanding more attention, reassurance and hand holding.  And in the medium and larger markets, their obsession with having a digital component connected to just about all packages can be positively maddening.  On the local level, especially in the small markets (which remain extremely important in my book) mere occasional contact and messaging no longer are sufficient in the current atmosphere.

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A Sales Dilemma

| May 15, 2014

Al Herskovitz
H&H Communications
President

 

herskovitzwriterBRADENTON, Fla. – There is a recent U.S. Congressional Report that reveals that the Army National Guard doled out more than $32 million of its marketing and recruiting budget so far this year.  Most of it went to NASCAR coverage – TV, radio, cable, etc.  And, at best, they only could attribute about 3% of it to getting recruits.  A spectacular and costly failure.

Why do ad campaigns fail and what to do about it?  Well, this one fundamentally tanked because of poor research. According to the investigative report, about 90% of NASCAR fans are between 35 and 54 years old.  Not exactly National Guard possibilities when they are seeking 18-to-24-year olds.

There is no question that research is critical.  You must know who your station or show is trying to reach, and, if, in fact, what you are presenting has any chance of reaching them.  Independently syndicated programs boast of the number of their affiliates, then cry mightily when that hard-fought-for ad schedule is canceled or not renewed.  And individual radio stations face a similar dilemma with their local business accounts that include the added obstacle of having to face their home business community.

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Bringing Creativity and Heightened Localism to the Radio Sales Department — with a Biographer

| April 15, 2014

Wordsmith Rix Quinn delivers a unique mix of creative writing and a down-home vocal presentation to any station’s local marketing arsenal 

By Jeff McKay
TALKERS
Special Features Correspondent

mckayjeffNEW YORK – Budget cutbacks are not only limiting the resources of radio programming departments – they are squeezing station sales and creative marketing efforts as well.  Concept development and simple copywriting take personnel and time – something in short supply these days on the radio front. Add the potential of literally limitless internet real estate to the mix of radio’s marketing possibilities and the frustration of having limited man/woman-power only grows.

In a recent report on the top-billing radio stations for 2013, BIA/Kelsey wrote of Washington, DC’s all-news WTOP-FM (103.5) that the top-billing radio station in the United States “WTOP is morphing into a digital media company by providing access to its audience in many different ways beyond over-the-air.”  Mark Fratrik, senior vice president and chief economist for BIA/Kelsey concludes, “Its approach is serving them well and its model demonstrates that as the industry continues to adopt a multi-platform approach, it will engage audiences and sustain growth.”

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Seventh Annual Hersky Awards

| April 2, 2014

Al Herskovitz
H&H Communications
President

 

herskovitz81st Academy Awards¨ Press Kit ImagesBRADENTON, Fla. –  No, this is not about the Emmys, the Oscars, the Clios, the Obies, the Tonys, the CMAs or the Golden Globes.  No, this not about these lesser annual awards.  They all make way for the most important citations that occur around this time, and this is the seventh year – the Annual Hersky Awards.  As you all know, the Herskys honor outstanding achievement in the field of talk radio advertising and sales.

There may be a handful of readers who are still among the uninitiated, so let us restate the few, simple rules. There is no actual statuette, naked or semi-clothed (just the mock-up seen here)!  There is no committee, although nominations and suggestions from the greater broadcast world are accepted and reviewed.  There is no formal event with a red carpet or fashion parade.  Keep in mind, however, the honors are pretty much confined to national entities, since reviewing every talk show or program in the country is a physical impossibility.  The decisions of the judges are final, and there is only one judge (see byline above).  So, may I have the envelopes!

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It’s a Political Ad War

| February 26, 2014

Al Herskovitz
H&H Communications
President

BRADENTON, Fla. –  Sales departments in many markets – and corporate accounting departments across the industry – are aware how important political advertising is as a revenue stream.   The every-other-year nature of the political ad cycle plays havoc with annual sales goals but the money that is out there during political season is worth going after and is not just for major or large market, highly rated stations or stations in traditional “battleground” states or districts.  Stations of all sizes and corporate affiliation can try to take advantage of some of the tactics used in bringing in political money.  Here are some pointers for stations and shows that might have previously believed that they are either too small or “unconnected” to play in this valuable arena.

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It’s Pop-Up Time!

| November 18, 2013

By Al Herskovitz
H&H Communications
President

BRADENTON, FL — There is a remarkable, growing retail phenomenon occurring  around the country this time of year that is directly attributable to the current national  economic downturn.  And it is  a unique opportunity for sales reps.

These are retail outlets that suddenly appear in vacant spots in shopping centers and malls and stay just for the holiday season and then close. The phenomenon even has gotten a name.   They are called “Pop-Ups.”

As you probably have noticed in your very own community, there are numerous barren locations which give the centers a certain forlorn appearance. Therefore, shopping center operators are delighted to have them filled even though the leases are short-term. They provide a more festive and better look and at least generate some income. They also are a lure for shoppers to frequent the regular space occupiers as well.

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Sports/Talk Expanding Commercial Envelope as Traditional Norms Fade Away

| October 23, 2013

By Al Herskovitz
H&H Communications
President

BRADENTON — Of all the subsets of talk radio, sports/talk appears to be the most innovative and pioneering when it comes to finding new and appropriate sales opportunities. After you think you have heard it all a category comes along from out of the blue that really throws you.  It’s a relatively new category of commercials that currently is most prevalent on sports/talk stations.  The category – “Strip Joints”…euphemistically referred to as “Gentlemen’s Clubs.” The spots primarily are voiced by females using seductive tones as they list the club’s attractions through indirection. Considering the  sports/talks audience make-up, it does make a great deal of sense.

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Radio Sales Lead: ObamaCare

| September 25, 2013

By Holland Cooke

Radio Consultant

cookewriterBLOCK ISLAND, RI – While conservative radio talkers cheered on Ted Cruz’ Senate marathon, and other repeal-ObamaCare efforts, there’s a different conversation underway in the station manager’s office.  Some 500 broadcasters recently sold out a Radio Advertising Bureau webinar on harvesting Affordable Care Act-related advertising.

I just watched the (archived) webinar, and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND it.  Here’s the link, and it’ll be $49 well-invested: http://www.rab.com/webcasts/wod.cfm

Veteran broadcaster Dave Burke spent the last year immersed in studying ObamaCare’s impact on various stakeholders, and draws a road map to what shapes up as a major, long-term advertising revenue stream.

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An Opportunity for Radio’s Interactive Sellers

| September 23, 2013

A social media arrow in your quiver would help open doors to more potential interactive clients 

By Chris Miller
Chris Miller Digital
Owner

SHAKER HEIGHTS — Good radio salespeople I’ve worked with pride themselves on being smart, helpful marketers, not just spot-schleppers.

So here’s an opportunity for our interactive sellers.  We offer some great digital marketing tools to our clients, such as hyper-targeted streaming spots, eye-catching interactive ads on our sites, insertions in database emails, and sponsorships of texting programs.  But what about the hottest digital marketing tool today, social media?

This is where I need to play the sound effect of crickets chirping.

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To Beat the Devil

| September 23, 2013

By Al Herskovitz
H&H Communications
President

 

BRADENTON, Fla — With cries of woe, beating of breasts and the rending of garments, radio sales reps are responding to the mournful tune being sung by predictors of the medium’s imminent demise.  It is the same song we heard many, many years ago with the emergence of television.  “It’s all over for radio,” they wailed.  “Nobody’s going to listen to the radio anymore when they can watch TV.”  But sharp management, innovative programmers, and clever promotion beat that notion into the ground.

We heard that tune again with the FM explosion.  “Nobody’s going to listen to AM radio anymore when they have FM.”  Then talk radio expanded across the AM band to such a degree that national leaders, columnists and commentators, public figures go bonkers when a program host says something that they deem controversial or are against something they said or did.  Only today as I write this I read a column in a major metropolitan daily that railed against Rush Limbaugh.  If nobody is listening, what are they worried about?  After all he’s just a talk show host on AM radio.

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Why Some of Radio’s Best Advertisers Are the Most Difficult to Find for Consumers – and How to Fix It.

| September 16, 2013

By Chris Pendl
Bonneville Seattle
Creative Director

pendlchriswriterSEATTLE – One of the things that make radio an effective advertising tool is that it’s often the last message a consumer hears before making a purchase.  This point-of-sale proximity drives results for advertisers and keeps radio as part of their marketing mix.  With smartphone ownership now 56 percent among American adults, searching on smartphones is increasingly becoming a part of the consumer’s journey before making a purchase. A recent local search study, revealed there’s an 87 percent increase in local searches via mobile apps.  It is in this mobile space where some of radio’s best advertisers, local and regional businesses, have poor visibility and are often non-existent.

Local search is a bit different than searching on your computer.  Without going into the super-technical details (you can read more at the MOZ blog), know that even when a local business shows up on a desktop search – there’s no guarantee the same will happen on a mobile phone.

Let’s dive into some real-world examples.

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Sales Lead, Programming Heads-Up:
“The Fixer Mindset”

| July 30, 2013

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Remember that riveting scene in “Mission Impossible III?” At a swank Vatican City reception, the MI force kidnaps Philip Seymour Hoffman’s villainous character…and nobody knows. The switcheroo is high tech. In a back room, a 3D printer creates a mask that enables Cruise to masquerade as the abducted Hoffman, and walk right out the front door.

Don’t shrug this off as something you only see in the movies. Elsewhere in Hollywood, one Jay Leno has spent a small fortune on high-end 3D printers, to produce otherwise-unavailable engine parts for his couple hundred collectable cars. At the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show, there’ll be an entire Tech Zone dedicated to 3D printing; so look for my CES coverage here in January, and listen for my reports on “America in the Morning” and my client stations.

Back when ex-DJs my age got into radio, we played the hits. And “a hit” was a song, on a 45-rpm vinyl disc, sold in brick-and-mortar storefronts. Now, songs are digital downloads from Amazon and iTunes. And the definition of “television” has broadened to include Hulu, Netflix, and other interlopers investing aggressively in their own hits. Real soon, “a hit” will be 3D print software code. You’ll order the part or gadget you need from Amazon or iTunes, and the author will print-and-ship to order.

If I had a 3D printer, the first thing I’d print is another 3D printer. But I digress.

Here’s what all this means to radio…

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Auction an Alternative to Unsold Inventory

| July 23, 2013

Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS  magazine

kinosianLOS ANGELES — Airline executives are adamant that all seats on all flights are sold, albeit by fluctuating fares.

Likewise, hotel owner/operators strive for as few vacancies as possible.

The same sentiment obviously applies in radio, as managers cringe at the notion of any unsold inventory.

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What Happened to the Remote?

| July 22, 2013

The poor, abused programming/sales tool still can work well in sports talk 

By Al Herskovitz
H&H Communications
President

BRADENTON — The remote on-location broadcast was once a staple in the sales rep’s arsenal. It almost has disappeared from the airways, particularly from talk radio.  And for logical reason too.  The strength of the talk format comes from the right and left, pro and con, political and social issues topics. A remote could possibly generate a partisan flash mob that might trash Charlie’s Auto Parts and Car Wash. That’s the last thing “good ole Charlie” would want. This is aside from the currently popular radio rows which are not commercially sponsored events for stations or programs and not meant to draw crowds to the location.

However, there is a place for the commercial remote broadcast to flourish… in sports/talk radio!

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Finding Radio Advertising Solutions

| July 17, 2013

Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS magazine

LOS ANGELESUse the word “creative” in a radio context and the first thing generally summoned up is a programmer spinning a different take on a music format, or as an application to that extremely rare, exceptional on-air personality who is capable of generating substantial buzz.

Infrequently though is it linked in a word-association game to commercials, which is not only distressing, but highly unfortunate since creative commercial content can be a strong attribute.

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HALL TALK: The Sale Doesn’t End When the Client Signs the Contract

| June 21, 2013

By Al Herskovitz
H&H Communications
President

NEW YORK — The sale doesn’t end when the client signs the contract.  That was one of the hot topics bandied about during discussions I had in the lobby, at lunch and at the cocktail party outside the formal goings-on at the recent TALKERS conference (6/6).  It is one of the valuable side-effects of the event attached to the panels and presentations in the main hall.  The opportunity to talk face-to-face with programmers, producers, hosts,  sales folks, about specific challenges they face.

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Have You Hugged a Lawyer Today?
An Exterminator?

| May 13, 2013

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

BLOCK ISLAND — If you work on air, you get to keep working because you’re real valuable to sales.  Heck, you should be in sales, if only handling a handful of accounts that you yourself prospected.  Commission-only!  The station has zero to lose, and another set of feet on the street; and you COULD double your income.  Yes you could.

To get you started, here’s a sure shot, including killer copy points, from a radio great.

When I moderated the very first session at the very first Talkers New Media Seminar — as Talkers New York was called in the 1990s – venerable Bruce Williams was among the panelists.  And he ad-libbed a paragraph my clients have been making money with ever since.

Although Bruce’s recognizable voice and trust-me delivery slam-dunked the copy, this spot could also be effective voiced by the client, unless the attorney can’t affect the sympathetic delivery necessary.

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Controversy Proves the Power of Radio

| April 23, 2013

By Walter Sabo
Chairman
Sabo Media

NEW YORK: Let’s review a show that promotes:

  Co-habitation without the benefit of marriage; Sexual stereotypes — girls throw themselves at football players just for a kiss.

•  Racial stereotypes. For example, it promotes the need for more black friends in order to be appealing.

  The discussion of condoms.

•  Living together and sex with strangers.

Then, it promotes even more living together and sex with strangers and the humor of meeting a possible mass murderer.

That show commands the highest spot rates of any comedy show this year.  It is on Fox.

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Radio Should Learn About Hyperlocal Marketing

| April 2, 2013

By Walter Sabo
Sabo Media
Chairman

NEW YORK — A vital revenue and programming trend to understand is “hyperlocal” marketing. It is easy to assume that live, local radio is hyperlocal but in marketing terms it is not. Hyperlocal to a brand marketer is content, technology and commerce that is one step in front of the target customer. Hyperlocal marketing influences the buying decision at the moment of decision and purchase.

For example, if your station offers an app with hyper-local commerce capabilities, a listener carrying that app could pass by a Dunkin’ Donuts, and through GPS, the app could signal the listener that they can walk into DD and receive a free donut. That’s hyper-local marketing at its simplest.

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Interview Your Dentist

| March 27, 2013

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

cookewriterBLOCK ISLAND — Assume that, in meetings you’re not invited to, tough decisions are on the table. And as cutbacks continue, it’s real smart for on-air personalities to seem real valuable to the sales department. If your endorsement spots move product, bean counters view you as “revenue,” not just expense.

Savvy hosts are pro-active, not just reactive. They THINK sales, spotting prospects everywhere, and tipping-off the sales department.

Next time you slide-into the dental chair, you might chat-up your doc…at least until he or she numbs you.

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Sixth Annual Hersky Awards

| March 8, 2013

By Al Herskovitz
H&H Communications
President

herskovitzbw81st Academy Awards¨ Press Kit ImagesBRADENTON, FL — Who cares why “Brave” beat out “Frankenweenie” for the Best Animated Feature Oscar?  Who cares about Anne Hathaway’s coiffure?  And who the devil is Seth MacFarlane (alright, alright…even I know who he is)?  The Oscars is just about one of a score of lesser awards presentations – the Emmys, the Grammys, the Golden Globes, the Obies, the Tonys and on and on that have swept through the past 30 days or so.  They pale in comparison to the one awards presentation that has any worth or meaning or gravitas.  It’s 2013 Hersky Awards. For the uninitiated the Herskys honor  outstanding achievement in the field of talk radio advertising and sales.
First, the rules…

Now to restate the rules for this sixth year for those who don’t remember. There is no golden statuette of a naked, bald man protecting his vitals with a sword or naked woman leaping after a sphere . The criteria vary from year to year at the whim of the awards committee.  The committee consists of just one person. (See byline above.) Since it is impossible for the committee to hear every talk program or station in the country, the awards are pretty much confined to national entities or concepts national in scope.

So, now the envelope please!

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Endorsements Should Be Interesting

| March 4, 2013

By Michael Berry
Host
The Michael Berry Show

berrymichaelwriterHOUSTON — All I ever hear radio industry execs talk about is ratings and revenues, as if the two go hand in hand.  With music stations, that may be true.  But talk radio’s future will be determined by our ability to get results for our advertisers.  That includes, but is not limited to, ratings, and it probably has more to do with ratings in categories currently seen as less, or altogether un-, important; namely, 55 and up, or 35-64.

Ratings are not an end in themselves, but rather a pricing mechanism by which advertisers determine the rates they will pay.  In an industry which measures itself primarily, indeed almost exclusively, on the 25-54 demo, it’s good to remember how many people are active consumers who don’t fit into those niches.  Twenty-five-year-olds don’t buy houses, or improve them.  Their bodies aren’t breaking down, so they don’t need all the medical advancements of companies willing to advertise those services.  They are not investing, banking, exercising, losing weight, restoring vision, or maintaining a house that needs everything from new pipes to electrical to roofing to driveway pavers to a pool.  In short, radio can still be very profitable as our society ages by appealing to direct-buy advertisers.  But only if radio can yield results for the client.  Think about it: listeners tune to music radio to zone out to music, and when someone talks it’s a distraction.  Listeners tune to talk radio to be engaged, and the talk by the host is what they sought.  If the host’s endorsement of a product could be as compelling as his discussion of Obama’s hypocrisy, imagine the boon to advertisers.   Winning the ratings war for most listeners under 54 does not necessarily yield financial returns to the people who pay for advertising.  It is not the size of the audience, but rather the size of the response for the advertiser, that will build loyalty in clients.  So how do we get results for clients, especially live, direct clients? Read More

A Conversation with Marketron President and CEO Jeff Haley

| February 4, 2013

HAILEY, IDAHO — Jeff Haley is president and chief executive officer of Marketron, the, Hailey, Idaho-headquartered company that is the media industry’s leading provider of business software solutions and services.  Prior to joining Marketron almost a year ago, Haley served as the president and CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB). Prior to that he served as senior vice president for Time haleyjeffWarner Global Marketing where he was responsible for creating marketing programs for some of the largest advertisers in the U.S.  Haley worked extensively in advertising sales and marketing at Time Inc. and Children’s Television Workshop (CTW).  He is on the board of directors for the Ad Council and a member of the Arbitron Radio advisory council.  He also serves as co-chair of the Radio Creative Fund (RCF), the governing body of the Radio-Mercury Awards. Haley holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of the Holy Cross and attended Boston University’s School of Management. The TALKERS interview with Jeff Haley was conducted by Michael Harrison.

TALKERS:  What led you to leave the RAB and join Marketron?  Erica Farber - then a recently signed-up VP of the RAB – has publically stated that she was surprised by your announcement to leave (which led to her ascending to your position).  What happened to spark the decision?

JH: At the RAB, my goal was to reenergize the radio advertising business, taking advantage of all that radio does best. The time I spent there was the perfect preparation for this role – which focuses on providing stations the support they need to be as successful as possible in a new, much more competitive environment.

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Baseball Stations: PLAN NOW
for Spring Training

| December 14, 2012

By Holland Cooke
News/Talk/Sports Radio Consultant

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — With 2013 expense budgets now in umpteenth revision, this reminder: Be there or be square.

After all the sub-freezing days and nights that chill much of the USA this time of the year – and various off-season trades and free agent signings – The Boys of Summer will be a welcome sound come March.

Yet too few baseball stations establish a presence at their teams’ spring training camps. Smart baseball stations are cheerleaders, and really smart baseball stations start cheering a month before opening day, when every team is in 1st place.

Five reasons this has value:
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Now That You’re in Sales…

| November 2, 2012

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Oh! You’re on-air? Not in sales? As Cher’s character hollered in Moonstruck, “SNAP OUT OF IT!”

Now more than ever – with 2013 budgets in umpteenth re-draft – tough decisions are being made, in meetings you’re not invited to. Possibly in meetings your boss is not invited to. So, as local talent, are you merely what bean-counters call an “expense?” Or when they read your name on The List of Endangered Employees, does it spell “revenue?”

Local DJ? That’s dang-near an oxymoron now. Talk show? That’s something from a syndicator, right? Not if you are responsible for what the sales department calls “local direct retail.” Translation: do-re-mi that’s not stepped-on by an agency; ads that tell shopkeepers’ stories, and bring cars into their parking lots.

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Talk’s Unique Advantage

| October 17, 2012

By Al Herskovitz
President
H & H Communications

BRADENTON – In the wild mad scramble for ad dollars during these highly challenged economic times, Talk Radio has  one outstanding and special advantage over other popular radio formats. In order to enjoy listening to talk, it is obvious that one has to listen to it attentively. It doesn’t make a very good background service as does music.That is why certain products tend to gravitate toward both the demographics and the psychographics of the format…. particularly higher priced goods and services.

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Tips to Rejuvenate Your Listener Emails

| October 8, 2012

By Chris Miller
Chris Miller Digital

SHAKER HEIGHTS, OH — Once upon a time, it was cool to communicate with people via email.  Now, it’s a utility like the power company.  You don’t think about it very much, but it’s hard to imagine getting business done without it.

I hope you haven’t gotten so blinded by social media that you’ve fallen out of love with email.  It’s still a powerful tool to communicate with your listeners, especially if your station targets adults.  Here are three things you can do to make your emails that much more powerful.

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Killer Endorsement Spots: Advertisers’ (and Your) Best Buds

| September 14, 2012

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

BLOCK ISLAND, RI –  Even with Google now sucking SO many local advertising dollars away from legacy media, local radio can still be local retailers’ best friend, and that’s not an opinion.  Data from the Radio Advertising Bureau and elsewhere continues to demonstrate that radio is, mathematically, the most efficient way to tell-a-lot-of-people-something.  And being the #1 in-car medium, we can still reach consumers closest to the cash register.

And your relationship with listeners can be a powerful bond.  Radio is an intimate medium, with decades of cred’ to the two generations which control most retail spending.  So the local DJs and talkers who will survive the ongoing bloodbath do so by being more than just voices.  Properly applied, the trust you have earned with listeners can sell-sell-sell, in a way that makes Arbitron numbers irrelevant.

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In Search of the Effective Commercial

| August 21, 2012

By Al Herskovitz
President
H & H Communications

BRADENTON, Fla. – The radio advertising world is going through a major shakeup.  National ad agencies and the clients they represent are finding that “funny commercials ain’t workin’” as intended.  Research is showing that these spots do get an occasional chuckle, create some brand awareness, may even improve market share a little bit, but have not been as effective as designed in bringing in new customers.  Does this mean the disappearance of the Geico lizard and the spokesduck for AFLAC?  The insiders are not saying, but there are strong hints that changes in approach are coming and soon to a number of national advertisers who have been featuring humor and what is termed as “cuteness.”

In what direction will they be going?  Sources say the Madison Avenue move is going to be to recognizable spokespersons and “scenes from real life”  in order to make an emotional connection with the listener.

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Newspaper Decline Spells Opportunity for Talk Radio Sales

| July 5, 2012

By Al Herskovitz
President
H & H Communications

BRADENTON, Fla. — Have you noticed lately how thin and anemic your daily newspaper has become?  That is if you read a daily paper at all.  New Orleans’ famous daily, the Times-Picayune, is reducing itself to three days a week starting this autumn. Incoming publisher Ricky Mathews says the move is necessitated by “upheaval in the newspaper industry.”  There also will be staff reductions in this newspaper that’s been around for some 175 years.  This is quite an admission and development.

And that’s not all!  Three major papers in Alabama are going the same route: The Birmingham News; the Mobile Press-Register; and the Huntsville Times are also cutting back to three days.  All of them will be publishing only on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.  Why only these particular days?  Because these are the days they carry the ad flyers and coupons.

How sad it is that the newspaper business has declined to the point of becoming just a coupon delivery system.

Newspapers cannot even depend on the classified ads for sustenance which were historically their bread and butter now that Craig’s List has eaten that portion of their lunch.

I can’t tell you how many times in recent years when I called on a local retailer to pitch him talk radio time that I was hit with, “I must have my newspaper ad before I can even consider radio at all.”  Now is the time to go back in and see that retailer.

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Let the Talent Be Talent: 10 Things You Need to Know About Live Endorsements

| June 10, 2012

By Michael Berry
Talk Show Host
KTRH, Houston

HOUSTON – When I listen to Rush Limbaugh, I zone out during the commercials. Except, that is, when the “commercial” comes from Maha-Rushi’s lips. I’ve never heard anyone deliver a better live endorsement than El Rushbo. It doesn’t feel like advertising at all. He makes me feel it’s his personal opinion, which is why I tuned in to him in the first place. I want to know his opinion of Obama’s latest move, and I’ll listen when he tells me where to shop.

Clients pay a premium for live endorsements on radio. It has been my experience as a talk show host that they then sometimes do everything possible to undercut the effectiveness of it. So, here are my list of suggestions to ad agencies, sales reps, and yes, even clients (the people who pay our bills) as to how we, the talent, can get better results for you. Help us help you. To sales reps and talent: I wrote this in hopes you could send it to your clients, whether direct advertisers or ad agencies. Let me be the bad guy and this can be your conversation starter.

  1. Don’t write a script. Any talent that needs a script isn’t worth the fee you pay for his endorsement. If all he’s doing is reading a script, have someone else read it. Hire a professional voice, or produce a better spot. Listeners can tell when a talent is reading your ad. You won’t get results. But if he uses your good or service and believes in it, you will get results. We can sell what we like because then it’s not “selling.” It’s simply sharing what we like and it’s what we do. Make sure your endorser understands you, the individual who owns the business. If you started the business out of your garage; if you are there every single day; if you answer when the phone rings to the main line, he should note that. People want a personal touch. He should share that you have it. Read More

Commercials Are Content, Too.

| May 2, 2012

By Al Herskovitz
President
H & H Communications

BRADENTON, Fla. — It was one of those a-scene-from-life commercials.  It went something like this: Woman 1 was the voice on an answering machine. “Hi, This is Madge, please leave a message.”  Woman 2 was the caller.  “Hi, Madge, this is Marge.  Do you remember last week when we were talking about hormonal imbalance?”  HORMONAL IMBALANCE?  Regular folks don’t chat about hormonal imbalance on the telephone!  Not unless they are two endocrinologists.  The commercial was supposed to be about a weight loss product, but the premise was implausible.  The commercial finally got around to the real topic – belly fat.  Now there’s a subject many of us can relate to, and diets are something we could talk about to a friend.

Scenes-from-life commercials are quite common.  The challenge is to make them sound like normal conversation.  Sadly many of them come off contrived and unnatural because no one repeats an 800 number three times in rapid fire succession or refers to “plenty of free parking, open nightly ‘til nine” in this manner during talk between ordinary people.

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The 2012 Hersky Awards

| March 23, 2012

By Al Herskovitz
President
H & H Communications

BRADENTON, Fla. — Those minor, frivolous awards shows – the Oscars, Emmys, Grammys, Golden Globes, etc. – have come and gone and are mostly forgotten.  Can anyone tell me who won the sound editing award for the best foreign language documentary?  Who won what for what is but a dim memory, if that.  All of this has been swept out of the way to make room for the most important of all: The 2012 Hersky Awards!

These are honors given to the very best in sales orientation in the talk format.  Keep in mind there is no fancy ceremony with the ripping open of envelopes followed by the inevitable pregnant pause.  No need to bring back Billy Crystal to salvage the event.  There is no red carpet to walk in fancy, designer clothes where focus is put on how much “pupick” you can expose. There is no need to hire some expensive accounting firm to verify the honesty, authenticity, secrecy of the judging.

The process is very simple.  There is only one judge.  (See name above.)  The judge reviews as much talk radio as he can hear and peruses as many talk station websites as he can view over the preceding 12 months.  Keep in mind that the awards go only to national entities since it would be impossible to assess all the local ones, many of whom would be quite worthy in their own markets.  There is one exception: local station website.

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