By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
If you never had the opportunity to see The King, it went something like this: Incredible music set, women crushing the front of the stage, Elvis leaning down, a few lucky ladies would get one of his scarves, the music would come to a crescendo, everyone cheered, Elvis stood up from his lean-in, finished the song and then… every light in the place went out. We stood in total darkness for what seemed like eternity when all the house lights came up and the voice said, “Elvis has left the building.” Wow. No lasers, no pyrotechnics, just total darkness to total house lights up and thousands of eyes fixed on an empty stage. Message received, Elvis had magically disappeared, and we all believed he wasn’t backstage. Somehow in those days we bought the idea he was on his way to wherever superstars go.
Does it work the same way when your on-air talent decides to pull an “Elvis” move? Here’s what I experienced over the past few months.
My marketing work in several of the top 20 radio markets saw daily show hosts who were doing host reads suddenly exit. Each time we learned of the exit by reading trade publications, not from a station rep. One day the talent is reading the spot, the next day it was up to me to call, initiate the conversation, and start brainstorming a plan.
What happened to sellers pro actively connecting and offering an update and solution path with an eye towards minimizing the disruption? “Elvis left the building” with our endorsement campaign, we are in total darkness. Now what? Each time the seller came with “we just found out,” as I read the story in the trades. Really? Still acting like what they don’t know won’t hurt? Or just got caught short? Is that the competition calling?
For every manager reading this:
- Have a plan ready for every client. One size does not fit all.
- Help your sellers with materials that speak to advertisers.
- Prepare to guide sellers through where and when to be flexible.
- Advertisers hate uncertainty.
- Take the time to build trust and confidence with the new host.
- You had no control over the talent exit, empathy and support work.
Life happens. Great talents may exit with very little or no notice. When it comes to advertisers, it’s up to you to turn the house lights back on fast!
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