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Pending Business: Survey Says…

| June 7, 2021

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp


PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Ads are ok!

Our friends at NPR just released a research piece by Edison. If you haven’t read the study, you should take the time. The study identifies six categories of listeners that are reminiscent of similar research pieces I’ve seen over the years.

The concept of AM/FM listeners who are categorized as “Connection Seekers” and “Infomaniacs” goes right to heart of the news/talk radio business. Those two categories identify highly engaged listeners, persons 50-plus who prefer spoken word to music. Sound familiar? Now for the closer. The NPR/Edison survey says between 65-70% of these “Connection Seekers” and “Infomaniacs” are good with advertising as they listen. Wait, what? It’s the NPR guys who are now banging the drum for “your ad goes here.” Yet, your program, brand, or content manager may come from an outdated culture of ads are a tune-out. I’ll bet you can still hear some on air talent saying, ”We’ll be back….”

There is an elephant in this research room. Let me point out where all this acceptance of ads derails: poorly executed creative.

My experience includes managing at a successful easy listening station.  (Now a SIRIUS XM Channel.) The format was arguably the most discerning when it came to commercial creative. We were highly limited in commercial inventory and EVERY commercial had to be pre-approved prior to broadcast, including ad agency provided production. It was a true education in creative that fit the environment. I once brought in a six-figure deal for a sponsor that was rejected. As a young manager, I didn’t know this perfectly acceptable category was off limits in the format. The size of the deal reached the president of our broadcast division who made the final decision. The result? Sorry, what plays in Miami, stays in Miami.

Many of us have been in situations where ads have been rejected for legal or other reasons. It is never a simple process and always a potential minefield.

If you are faced with the task of making the tough client call:

  • Be clear. Nothing worse than vague dialogue when you need to right the ship.
  • Be ready with solutions.
  • Make sure your manager is on the same page.

Dollars can be replaced, people not so much.

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:


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Category: Sales