I'm not going to tell you where I was when I picked up a copy of the May edition of Fortune Small Business.
The cover story caught my eye: "Old Dogs, New Tricks: Innovators find fresh ways to profit in out-of-fashion industries."
And as I started turning through these success stories, I ran across an old friend and client, Joe Schwartz. Joe is the guy behind Cherry Creek Radio, a company that buys radio stations in small markets, like Pasco, WA; Great Falls, MT; and Lamar, CO. I ran into Joe at last year's NAB, and he was the happiest guy at the convention. While everyone else was whining about just about everything, Joe was running around with his signature smile.
The Fortune Small Business article lists some of the factors that Joe and his right-hand man, Dan Gittings, have done to make Cherry Creek a success:
1. When they buy a station, Dan runs a 2-day ad-sales boot camp. Among other things, the target is the local newspaper.
2. Go after businesses that have never bought radio, and use a solid, standardized sales pitch.
3. Don't go in and fire the staff when you take over a station - use their knowledge to learn about the local community.
4. Don't tinker with programming, but serve the local communities - even if that means broadcasting school lunch menus.
5. Use your instincts. Joe surfs Chamber of Commerce websites in small towns where new businesses are springing up. In the process, he identifies markets that are great candidates for Cherry Creek.
Congratulations to Joe and Dan for carving out new turf, and finding a great and profitable outlet for their years of radio experience.