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Fred Jacobs is President of Jacobs Media, a media research and consulting firm. Jacobs Media clients have included CBS Radio, Premiere Radio Networks, Citadel, Greater Media, MTV Networks, Playboy, Amazon, Electronic Arts, NPR, Sylvan Learning Centers, and Taubman Malls. Learn more about the company here.


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August 2011

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« Honor | Main | Radio Loves L.A. »


Larry Rosin

A brilliant post Fred. We work so hard to make the 46 minutes we get for programming to be as good as possible, and no one is working to improve the other 14 (or 16, or 18) minutes. Your clients should put you in charge of improving/programming all 60 minutes -- it would become a huge strategic advantage for them.

David Martin

Kudos, Fred. Thanks for the spot-on post. Putting imagination and creativity to work always offers an exceptional ROI. No good reason why radio can't get a bigger share of the local direct ad spend and more first-time advertisers.

Andrew Mason (Groupon CEO) has reimagined that old well worn shoe of retail pricing promotion - the coupon. What's most impressive about his venture is certainly not the tech platform (email & credit card processing) but rather the clever creative approach and the aggressive local selling. Mason's stated objective is to "change the world" in part by helping local business owners to get response from their advertising and by helping Groupon users "discover" their market. Groupon works collaboratively with clients, they're in the business of consultive ad sales. This year he's pacing to bill $4 billion.

I'll leave you with two thoughts.

Starbucks spends more money on training than on advertising.

"It is the great triumph of genius to make the common appear novel" - Goethe


Thanks, Larry - there is a lot to be said for programming the rest of the hour - especially the part radio monetizes.


The "worst recession since the Great Depression" has clearly opened the door for Groupon, Living Social, etc. Through adversity comes opportunity. Radio's local presence and sales teams could redefine the advertiser relationship. Thanks for your comments.


A very insightful post Fred, I see multiple parallels here from the programming side as well. For example jocks are told to be creative and make every break count. Same should apply on the advertising side, as you said if listeners had the same enthusiasm for the ads as they do for "checking out deals in their email" there is potential for things to improve. It is definitely time to think outside the box and ramp up the learning curve.


Thanks, Katie, for joining the conversation. We have to work on making that 12-14 minutes of each hour more entertaining - and more effective for advertisers. We spend money and time on the rest of the hour, but just let the commercials go. And we know the result.


Glad you are part of this parade Fred. We are an instant gratification society. Sell :30's and :15's. People won't even give a You Tube video :60 of their time. This is where a station has an advatage if they truly do have a creative production department. Sales do your part as well. There is more to making the sale than filling out copy points on a production order. A happy customer is a repeat customer.


A world where radio yields results for advertisers & actually creates a sense of anticipation among listeners is a great goal. A win-win for the audience and advertisers is attainable, and Groupon is proving that. Thanks for reading & commenting, Danny.

BB Hainsworth

I will agree with you, there is nothing more annoying than car dealers screaming at you. Converting scripts to relevant deals? Whatever happened to writing ads that weren't laced with platitudes or trying to be funny. How about ads that tell me why I should shop at ABC company and how it will solve my problem or fill my need. If it was all about deals, wouldn't we be all be shopping at Walmart and wouldn't Rolex, Mercedes Benz, Lexus and so on be out of business?


Thanks for weighing in, BB. No question about it - the quality of radio ads have fallen in recent years. And I'm not saying that ALL radio ads should become deals. But some of them most certainly could, they might sound better and be more effective, while breaking up the monotony of a typical radio cluster.

Appreciate you taking the time to comment and reading the blog.

Duane Christensen

In our radio group I sell the radio schedules (most are annuals) and I also write my clients' ads. Who better to write the ads than the person that spends the most time with the business owner. We've been trained by some of the best in copywriting and creative persuasiveness. If more radio groups did it this way...the ads you heard wouldn't be so stinky and forgettable.

I have clients tell me that their customers can't wait to hear their next ad! It's not easy to find someone that can sell AND write good radio copy. But when you do, the client benefits with ads that actually work, and the radio station benefits by long-term contracts and low attrition.

The other radio groups I'm familiar with, hand their new ad reps a copy of the yellow pages and tell them to hit the streets or get on the phones. That's why their turnover is so high. When radio is done right...with strategy...and patience...great things happen. Sadly, very few radio managers and CEOs know this.


Thanks for weighing in, Duane. No question about it - more time, attention, & training would go a long way to making better advertising and happier advertisers. You'd think that after 15 years of consolidation, radio would have commercial beet practices in place.

But I think the "deals" concept is very viable as a way to turn radio's traditional advertising model on its side. In your case, rethinking some of those strong client relationships you've nurtured into additional revenue opportunities that may garner success. Groupon will come to Sioux Falls one day.

Thanks again for reading & commenting.

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