Geo’s Media Blog. (Sales Promotions) 3/05/18. #2 in 2018

When I left CFTR in Toronto to join Fairbanks Broadcasting in Indianapolis as their National Program Director, I didn’t have a good relationship with many sales departments. (I mean how many times can you be slimed before you say, “Fu*k it?”)
Anyway, years later, CFTR hired my brother Reg to be their new Program Director, and when they were introducing him to everyone on his first day, I found out that my reputation was still intact. After meeting the sales manager, he said to Reg, “You’re not related to that prick George Johns are you?” Hell, even after just barely arriving in America, the entire WNAP sales staff marched into Jim Hilliard’s office and said, “It’s either him or us?” Jim thankfully said, “Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.”
Doing radio in America was very different than doing it in Canada. Everybody was a lot more aggressive, and the sales folks were also very driven. The big difference between American and Canadian sales folks is in America the sales managers control the promotion money whereas, in Canada, the CRTC (FCC) controls it. In fact, by law, you were only allowed to give away $5000 each month thus making it a budget item. In America, there was no limit to how much you could give away; you just had to figure out how to get sales to pay for it.
It didn’t take me too long to discover that all the money that I needed was already in Dick Yancey’s office in Indy, (pictured above) and Jerry Bobo’s in Dallas. (pictured on top) All I had to figure out was how to tie their clients into my latest promotion, and they were all over it.
How the chain of command worked at Fairbanks Broadcasting was, not only was I the National Program Director of the company, but I was also the local PD of WIBC. My counterpart Dick Yancey was the National Sales Manager and also the local SM of WIBC where we loved to run commercials because Mr. Fairbanks loved to pay cash for the stations he bought. Now the only way you get away with running a ton of spots they better be good, so we hired the best voices in the country to do them. You also needed a lot of rules like no remotes, no yelling car dealers, and if you needed a live read, you better come with a boatload of money. Oh, and did I mention, absolutely no remotes.
Dick Yancey and I didn’t agree on everything, so sometimes Hilliard would have to flip a coin to solve what he thought was a ridiculous argument. What Dick and I did agree on were the promotions that the sales folk thought were sales promotions and the air-staff thought that were programming promotions. The best one we ever came up with that both the air people and the salespeople loved may have been the “Magic Ticket.” In fact, it was so successful that the FCC investigated it and when it received a clean bill of health, Dick syndicated it nationwide which bought me my first Mercedes.
When Jim Hilliard bought KVIL in Dallas for Mr. Fairbanks, and I met Jerry Bobo, (pictured on top) he quickly became one of my favorite Sales Managers.
Unfortunately for Jerry, when we launched the new KVIL, he had absolutely nothing to sell. We didn’t have any ratings; we didn’t do remotes, we didn’t have any air talent, so no live reads. All we had was a shi#load of rules about what he could not do if he were lucky enough to find someone who even wanted to buy a commercial. Oh did I mention, absolutely no remotes and oh yeah, we were doing a brand new format which had never been on the radio before? C’mon Jerry, there’s no crying in radio, and we did keep Ron Chapman around for you, maybe he’ll catch fire, ya never know.
What made Jerry stand head and shoulders above most SMs was that when he discovered that the only thing he did have to sell were promotions, he became the best in the world at it. He also didn’t sit around waiting for me to bring him things like the “Magic Ticket,” “The Checks In The Mail,” “The Prize Catalog,” and “The 50% Off Free Fair,” he’d just head down to Ron Chapman’s office. Once there he would ask Ron if there was anything that he wanted to do that he hadn’t done yet? There was always something, and once Jerry found out what it was, he would scurry back to his office and package it up. I was never against any of this because if Ron wanted to do it, it never failed.
Once KVIL was cookin’, Hilliard would use Jerry to help out at our other stations. One of my fondest moments occurred when he visited Boston to do a “Magic Ticket” presentation for F-105. (WVBF) We did it a fancy Boston hotel for the executives, managers and their spouses of a restaurant chain called Friendly’s. Right in the middle of explaining how it worked, Jerry said, “Hell it’s impossible to explain how excited your customers are going to be when this promotion hits the air, so I’m just gonna show you.” With that, he reached into his briefcase and started throwing money at the startled Friendly’s folks who soon were not so friendly as they began to shove each other out of the way. It’s hard to explain how ridiculous the scene looked as they all crawled around on their hands and knees as they tried to gather up as much free money as they possibly could.
As George Harrison once said in a song though, “All things must pass,” and even though I was still having fun, after being at Fairbanks for eight years, it was time for me to move on so I left to start my own consulting company. However, I soon discovered that being a consultant was very different than being a V/P of programming. When you’re the V/P, most of your ideas make the airways; when you’re a consultant, you’re lucky if half of them do.

Thankfully, when I left Fairbanks, they became one of my clients, and I’ll never forget my first visit to Dallas as their brand new consultant. When the clock radio went off the next morning, Ron Chapman was doing his show from the parking lot of a shopping mall which was bad enough but the fact that it wouldn’t be open for hours made him sound lonely. What the fu#k? Upon investigation, I found out that Jerry had found out that Ron had lusted after a tricked out RV with a studio in it for years. Ron wanted to do his show once in a while from the towns that surrounded Dallas as a sorta, thank you for listening thing. Jerry came through with Ron’s dream studio but of course, needed a little help. He needed Ron to do a few trial runs around town before he took that beautiful tricked out RV on the road. C’mon Jerry!


I wonder if Jews, Hispanics, Muslims, Native Americans, and Asians in America feel better treated than black folks?

When you’re young, you worry about what people think of you. When you’re middle-aged, you don’t give a damn, but as you grow older, you realize that they were never thinking about you.

My nephew Jamie Boychuck who is an executive with CSX Railway got to ring the bell to begin trading on Wallstreet last Friday. How cool is that?

Your destiny isn’t about your getting lucky; it’s about your ability to choose what it is you want it to be.

Each dumb mistake you make gives you another opportunity to become smarter.

Is there anything louder than the crickets suddenly stopping?

Defeating the enemy inside your head is tough.

The time to start worrying about the stuff that you don’t control is when what you do control is perfect.

Following the well-worn path leads to nothing of any consequence.

It’s not the all the great things that you do now, and then that makes the difference, it’s the everyday things that you do.

As sophisticated as Shakespeare’s writing appears to be, it was written for the common man as were all the Beatles compositions.

The difference between winners and losers is, the winners are the ones who got back up one more time to give it another shot.

Unfortunately, we only get to elect our presidents but not our kings who are the wealthy big business guys.

The rest of the world may not like America, but they sure love our benefits.

Why is it so much harder getting the generic medicine out of the container than the original?

In this politically correct world that we live in, people only want to communicate with those who agree with them thus leaving the planet running in place.

What if Mother Nature intended us to screw up the planet. Maybe she’s hoping that we’ll eliminate ourselves and then she could get on with whatever is next without her having to send another comet.

Why do politicians once elected work on everything except what we elected them to work on, “The economy and jobs?”

Having enemies is a good thing claimed Winston Churchill because it means that at one time in your life you stood for something.

The only thing more irritating in South Florida in the winter time than a person from Quebec is an even ruder New Yorker with a horn.

Any person who is not a little wiser today than they were yesterday is on a fast train to nowhere.

Since deregulation began, can anyone point out anything good? All I see are radio groups going into bankruptcy, and people losing their jobs.

I dislike negativity so much that I get excited whenever anything positive shows up like waking up and realizing it’s Friday. Even though the days of the week stopped being a big deal to me when I got into radio, Friday still feels special.

Isn’t it weird when somebody quits smoking they immediately start lecturing even we non-smokers on the evils of smoking? Sometimes it gets so bad that I begin praying for them start smoking again.

How do we free our politicians from the chains of lobbyist money so they’d be free to do what’s right?

When I got a record deal, I thought the dealin’ was done. Little did I know that the dealin’ had just begun.

Have you ever noticed that everyone except the Democrats and Republicans criticizes the evil money that flows from lobbyists to politicians?

Listen up ladies, what most men want from their woman is unconditional adoration.

The sales side of #KVIL, #LifeLiners about #Winners and #DeregulationLosers, plus #Radio are above. Comments about many other things are @ On Twitter @GeoOfTheRadio. Sharing & Commenting is appreciated.




2 thoughts on “Geo’s Media Blog. (Sales Promotions) 3/05/18. #2 in 2018

  1. George…I really enjoyed your article entitled, Sales Promotions. Nice to read history written by a guy who was there.

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