HEMPSTEAD, NY — One of the great added personal advantages I enjoy by attending TALKERS conferences is that I can meet face-to-face with numerous broadcasters who are responsible in their markets for advertising in the talk media. In the halls, between the panel sessions, we bat around the major challenges we currently are facing and exchange ideas as to how we can deal with them.
It’s the food that feeds the beast! And two topics dominated Hall Talk 2016: #1 – Political advertising in this election year….#2 – Climbing the daunting mountain of our new digital era.
The unusual circumstances surrounding the current national candidates are posing unique sales problems. Yes, just about all with whom I spoke, acknowledged that they benefited from the ad wars affecting the primary season. But now local and regional battles are upon us. And numerous aspiring candidates are not allying themselves with the traditional wings of their political parties. Some candidates with no clearly defined affiliations are emerging. The task facing the media sales community is to get their sales messages to these people in addition to the usual routes.
Oddly #1 is related to #2. This emergent group of “wannabee” politicians appear to be well aware of the new tech: blogging, podcasting, posting, email blasting and the lot. What we media types all agreed upon was to find the way to marry the strengths of talk radio to the new tech. How do we create ad packages that include commercials that pitch the candidate and connect to the new-tech items. After all, is there a talk station that doesn’t have its own website where they don’t audio-stream their own programming? Is there a talk station site that can’t link to another site?
The challenge further becomes how to establish advertising rates for a combination of on-air spots married to online promotion. In regular advertising the answer is simple. Whatever the traffic will bear. However, political ads bring forth that old bugaboo of the lowest established unit rate. But with some research and the aid of my TALKERS’ colleague, attorney Steven J.J. Weissman, we learned the rules still apply to over-the-air commercials, but there are no specific legalities assigned to political online advertising even if associated with the broadcast spots. It just may be a billing issue.
So a golden opportunity exists for additional revenue. Keep in mind many will go to their hometown talk stations to attempt to be interviewed on the local shows. Be sure to check with the program hosts and producers. Also do your own online hunt of their names and check for contact information. The key to the pitch is that they may have a campaign web presence, but how is anyone going to find it? The answer is your station and your station’s website with on air ads and ads that link from your website to theirs. Of course you can establish a separate rate for the online space with its linking capability that is free from any FCC restrictions thus far.
It ain’t gonna be easy! But welcome to the new world!
Al Herskovitz is president of H&H Communications and a TALKERS marketing consultant. He can be emailed at: email@example.com.