BRADENTON, Fla. — There are scores of them out there – independently produced, nationally distributed, specific subject talk shows. You know which ones I mean. The ones you regularly hear on weekends or very early in the morning or quite late at night – health programs, legal advice, financial advice, pet care, news analysis, gardening, etc. Most of them are quite good. The program hosts are knowledgeable on the subject matter and are articulate. And the shows are well produced and professionally presented covering subjects that are important, informative and valuable to listeners.
However, (There’s always a “however.”) very few of them are financially profitable for the producer. The stations air them because they fill a much-needed void. The stations are reluctant to repeat an hour of one of their regular feature shows, or something called a “best of” which in most cases is not a best, but a repeat of one of their regular feature shows. And add to that these specialty programs cost the affiliate next to nothing, falling under that media banner called “barter.” If there are twelve commercial minutes available in an hour, the affiliate gets six of them which they can sell or use as spot carriers, even offer them as bonuses to good sponsors, and the program producer gets the other six and tries to sell them.
Here’s the rub. They find it near impossible. Most major national advertisers and their ad agencies don’t like to deal separately with these shows because they are not on the air in their target markets or in a sufficient number of markets or at the times of day they judge as valuable and the bookkeeping is a nightmare.
Is there a solution? Yes, there is. It even has a name. It is called “bundling.” A number of these indy shows can be bundled together so that program A with 60 affiliates and program B with 40 affiliates and program C with 80 affiliates, and so on, are joined together in a package. Before you know it the whole nation is blanketed. Then this package can be offered to possible advertisers at a rate below what the major ad companies charge. It gives the advertiser what it both wants and needs – reach and frequency at a reasonable cost. Bear in mind that many of these programs are on the air in the same markets and in some cases on the very same stations. Hence the frequency.
As to rates, cheaper pricing can be proffered because a great number of these indie shows are one- or two-person, low-budget operations with very little overhead made possible because of the new, high-tech tools that are available today. These very same tools allow them to be heard at the same time via Internet networks, websites and podcasts. It gives them additional reach.
We all realize that at this very moment the whole world of communications is changing rapidly right before us. Using the new technology coupled with some age-old, common sense principals allows these programs vast opportunities to grow and turn into profitable entities.
Al Herskovitz is president of H&H Communications and a TALKERS marketing consultant. He can be emailed at: email@example.com.