“Radio Royalty” Radio Sales Blog 6/25/18)

During my career in radio, I’ve had the good fortune of working with some incredible talent. Surprisingly though not all of them became as big as they sounded. I later discovered that the ones who did, shared a secret and that secret was, “When you find a city that you love living in, hunker down and become a giant.”
The legends that I was privileged to work with who did that was Jack Wells in Winnipeg, Ken Grant in Ottawa, Gary Todd and Cris Conner in Indianapolis, Ron Chapman in Dallas, Loren & Wally in Boston, Jim Harper in Detroit, Chuck Knapp in Minneapolis, Jeff ‘n’ Jer and Jack McCoy in San Diego, Don Bleu in San Franciso, Shotgun Tom in Sothern California, Russ Morley in Palm Beach, Rick Moranis in New York and Toronto, Dan Donovan in Kansas City, Craig Walker and Bruce Murdock in Portland, Larry Ahrens in Albuquerque, Delilah in Seattle, Don Cannon in Philly, and Brent Farris in Santa Rosa.
Brent Farris(pictured above) confirmed this when he said to me, “More than 30 years ago I discovered that I loved living in Northern California, so when I hit Sonoma County, I simply stopped moving.” Brent’s been #1 there ever since and in fact, is so popular that I’m sure he could run for mayor of both Santa Rosa and Petaluma and win easily.
He’s had numerous opportunities to work in the majors, but he simply couldn’t bring himself to leave the lifestyle he loves so much. Brent sums it up best when he says, “A lot of folks are trying to figure out how to move to Sonoma County so that they too can enjoy the vineyard lifestyle all the time rather than just visiting. I’m already here, why would I leave?”
Working with Brent over the years he’s often said, “When George Johns starts talkin’ sales, I’ll know radio has come to an end.” Well, we may be nearing the end, my friend, because there’s sure a lot of it in this week’s Blog.

As murky as politics seem to be, as a centrist, I’m amazed at how clear they appear to be to my liberal and conservative friends.
As true as Nielson’s statistics may be about the people they have in their sample, I have a problem with whether the folks who wear the PPM devices, really represent America’s listening habits? For example, I’m pretty sure that they don’t have many type A’s in their sample base (23% of the population) and they still miss at least 30 minutes of morning listening every day because the device is not moving. Also, I can only wonder if the people wearing the PPM devices can hear the same radio stations the device does? 

As I look around, I don’t see much justice, so what the hell does the DOJ do?

Hey Winnipeg, do we tear up our Grey Cup tickets already? Oops, the Bombers just won one, I’ll put the ’em back in the drawer.

As I have said many times, I love hanging out with sales people I just don’t like working with them.

Radio needs to get into product placement, and the only way it can do that is with endorsements. I’m not talking about live reads; I’m talking about endorsements from the station’s stars. What do you mean you got rid of the stars?
Speaking of endorsements, Nike became the biggest shoe company in the world with the help of their spokesperson Michael Jordan. The thing about though was the fact that Michael never mentioned Nike; he just wore the shoes! 
The only thing that excites the listeners are their wants, not their needs. If you give away anything it better be something that they really want; otherwise, they’ll just sell it to pay bills. Unfortunately, nobody brags to their friends about paying bills. 
Salespeople can always sell the stuff they like, so you better sell the salespeople first. 
The customer isn’t always right, but our job is never to let them know. 
I remember when my counterpart, Dick Yancey offered his sales staff a 35% pay raise. All they had to do was work a half day on Saturdays. Nobody showed!
Most good salespeople are type A’s but the people who participate in rating surveys ain’t, so we have to discount sales opinions.
Some of the best salespeople are women, and most of them I guess, just happen to be good looking.

The very best sales folks of though, are not only smart smart and good-looking, they’re also a pain in the rear.

Radio sales folks are fair weather listeners. You only hear that they liked the station when good ratings come out.

Do radio salespeople still try to claim that they pay our salaries?

Speaking of good-looking, successful sales ladies, how come they’ve never figured out how to pick up a tab or two?
I learned a long time ago that the salespeople don’t work for the station, they work for the client. We just pay them. 
When I worked at Fairbanks, it was low biller out so every quarter we had a fun new sales person to torment.
When the sales folks at WRMF in Palm Beach would ask PD Russ Morley for a sales promotion, he’d throw them the rating book.

The selling never gets any easier because the more ratings we get the more money we want for the spots.

The sign over Jim Hilliard’s door read, “The purpose of this office is to bring good news to the sales department.”

I remember a salesperson who claimed that he couldn’t sell anything because the rates were too high so the GM asked him what rate he could sell? When the rep told him the GM said, “Ok you got it, that’s gonna be your exclusive rate. Just bring me everything you sell, and I’ll get it on the log for you.” The salesperson, of course, brought him nothing because as we all know the rate has little or nothing to do with it.

It’s easy to sell what can’t be purchased elsewhere.

During the bad times, the big just keep getting bigger.

I remember attending a sales meeting back in the day where the V/P of sales said, “Ok here’s how this month’s sales incentive works, the low biller will be going down on the top biller.” (Boy we don’t play that rough in programming)

Speaking of sales, how cool was it to have Paul McCartney sell us his new album in this fashion? Wow, talk about product placement.

Many more Blogs@ GeorgeJohns.com. On Twitter@GeoOfTheRadio. Sharing and commenting is appreciated.



7 thoughts on ““Radio Royalty” Radio Sales Blog 6/25/18)

  1. Yancey bullshhitted you – he never offered my team a 35% raise to work on Saturdays – we were so greedy, we all would have been there. Also, I think most of the sales staff at NAP worked weekends anyway – entertaining clients.

    • 🙂 Bill, I think he was talking about the WIBC sales staff and I also think he was talking about making calls and putting together presentations, not drinking at Stouffers.

  2. Regarding your idea of Radio doing “product placements” instead of just spots…we did that at Magic in Detroit and with great success. It’s tricky…it makes the lawyers very nervous (we did disclaimers at the end of every hour to indicate we’d been paid for mentions), but it CAN be done! The sales people created a whole new item on the rate card for it and it appeared on the log as a unit (we called them Poz-Mens for positive mentions) and the morning show simply figured out a way to bring a product or service up in natural conversation. Just like on TV shows or movies, but it’s more challenging since it can’t been seen sitting on a desk or in someone’s hand. Be glad to explain it in detail if anyone’s interested. Clients loved it and it was added-revenue. It did NOT impact the spot load per hour. So once again George, you’re onto another great idea. Close minded/nothing should impact the product-people/ won’t get it. But it’s as old as showbiz itself. And it makes the talent very sharp.

    • That’s a great one Jim and I bet it works really well if the talent uses the product and likes it. Obviously, Michael liked his Nike shoes.

    • Brilliant idea. And you do it yourselves. You don’t need no steering 3rd party to do it for you. My partner and I thought up the radio mall before anyone else bc we belonged to a barter trade group and used cards to talent or others to pay them for VO services, etc. In (mostly) restaurant trade. But after working the numbers on the idea as a syndicated radio show, we decided not to pursue the radio mall (up to 50 % off) idea. This was early 1990s. Went into software for radio spot delivery instead. Much easier to use SW to do your work. Loved hearing about your idea.

  3. That Paul McCartney bit had it all, didn’t it? And it just fell perfectly into place as the karote in car is a regular segment. Although not a fan of the show, itself, I did watch tthe Stevie Wonder segment when it came out. It was me, and I love Stevie. But I guess when it’s Sir Paul, there’s just that Beatles Magic that happens. I’m still swooning.

    • Robin, I loved the Stevie Wonder one also. You’re right Paul still has that Beatle magic all over and around him. As George Harrison once said, “Having once been a Beatle, didn’t hurt my career.”

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