By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
You’re certainly seeing the articles, interviews, research, and industry visibility showcasing the recent resurgence in the host read commercial. Longtime sellers, managers, owners, all know the host read never really went away. From the days of Ed McMahon and Johnny Carson to today’s talk radio talent, many of whom can be identified by just one name – Rush, Howard, Rome – they all kept talking and reading the bullet points.
Let’s not knock it, please. Wherever it comes from – podcasting or broadcasting – the host read always has been, still is, and most likely always will be one of the most effective ways of marketing a product or service.
Now the hard part. Why did this all-powerful marketing force lose visibility in many sales departments? Who’s to blame?
Start with the mirror, then look “down the hall.” The only reason the host read commercial faded in radio sales departments starts with the seller and ends with a manager. But the unprofitable pursuit of past mistakes should not slow us down from future income.
Here are some easy takeaways that worked for me for more years than I would like to admit in talk radio:
- Know your talent. Start up a conversation on likes, dislikes, favorites, needs, and wants.
- Invite your talents into a sales meeting. Sometimes a group setting gets everyone motivated and focused.
- Important community work. One of the talk hosts I worked with was highly committed to fallen heroes. This led to one of the most successful events we held, the “Hire A Hero” job fair.
- Rules. Respect each talent’s personal rules of the road. If they don’t feel comfortable with a product or service, move on. You can generate leads but you must earn trust.
- Be clear on talent fees. There are times when you may need flexibility, so tread carefully and know when to ask.
- Selling starts at home. YOU must be confident in your talent’s ability to move the needle for the sponsor. Be sure to communicate expectations clearly and honestly. If your talent feels the ask is unrealistic, be open minded.
It’s up to you to capitalize on the resurgence of interest in the host read. Our business is cyclical and this may be one cycle that winds up right in your wheelhouse.
Steve Lapa is the president of Lapcom Communications Corp. based in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Lapcom is a media sales, marketing, and development consultancy. Contact Steve Lapa via email at: Steve@Lapcomventures.com