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Syndication Reality: The Need for Measurable Audience

| April 23, 2014

By Tony Garcia
Global Media Services

garciatonywriterDENVER — I was talking with a prospective client about sponsorship and revenue generation. He was having a hard time getting his head wrapped around the whole idea of audience aggregation.

“My show is about outdoor grilling.  Why wouldn’t Omaha Steaks want to sponsor it?” It’s a logical question, and one that just about everyone just starting out asks. Is it possible? Sure. Is it likely? No.

I know what you are thinking: “What about that guy who has that weekend show?” There are several shows of this nature that are very successful. But those are special cases, and their revenue comes more from supplemental revenue channels than from network advertisers. There are also some highly specialized podcasters who are making money because they target an extremely narrow niche that can’t be reached any other way. We’re talking about general appeal programming here.

Network radio is more about numbers rather than fits. Media buyers look for large audience metrics. You may be fortunate enough to have a connection at a sponsor that fits your show. You might even get a few bucks. Eventually, you’ll deal with an agency. That’s when you’ll be faced with the inevitable. You have to have measurable audience.  That’s different from having affiliates. It’s possible to have a network of 100 stations with no measurable audience. With no measurable audience, ad representatives can’t monetize your inventory. For some, being on 100 stations and not making any money might be fantastic. Most of us want to see a return for our efforts.

In order to get the audience you need, you must approach quality stations with a quality pitch. Approach your marketing objectively. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be passionate about your show. It means you have to channel that passion into positioning and marketing your program:

  • Target your prospects—understand which stations make sense and which don’t.
  • Solve a problem or fill a need.
  • Make sure your program has a unique selling proposition.
  • Create a strong and well-thought-out pitch.
  • When interacting via phone (live or voicemail) make sure you get to the point. That call is your elevator speech. Make it compelling. Get it done in 30 seconds or less. Write it down. Practice it. A lot.
  • Be patient. There’s no such thing as an overnight success. It can take years to build a brand and a solid network.

Is it possible that you could catch a lucky break and have Omaha Steaks as a lucrative, lifelong sponsor of your Grilling Show? Anything is possible (the 1969 Mets for example). The better way is through understanding, planning, and targeting.


Tony Garcia is founder of Global Media Services which provides syndication support to independent radio programs. Among his many industry credits and accomplishments, he has served has AVP/Syndication for Greater Media (Lincoln Financial) where he was responsible for putting “Bob & Sheri” into national syndication and growing it into one of the most successful syndicated AC morning shows.  He can be emailed at or phoned at 303-916-6333.  Meet Tony Garcia at Talkers New York 2014 on Friday, June 20.



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Category: Advice