Monday, January 19, 2009

The Long Slow Death of Radio As We Knew It

This post was written as a comment in response to a recent post on Inside Music Media.

Early in my career, I was a national media buyer with the Fotomat Corp. They were, at that time, the 8th largest spot radio buyer in the US. I worked with incredible radio stations, both AM & FM. The Fotomat buying strategy was simple: 40 weeks of radio annually in 80 markets. Everything Fotomat did from a marketing standpoint was primarily dependent on the reps, the stations, the station personalities and the marketing partnerships we developed. Fotomat's marketing strategy utilized the best each station had to offer. Aside from having the requisite cpms to meet, the programs were individualized and they worked. Fotomat's marketing dept was smart enough to realize the strengths and unique aspects of each station with whom they partnered. There was no 'one size fits all". There were no clusters, no ownership monopolies and very little voice tracking other than the "Beautifuls". Stations were still personality-driven and formats were pretty much divided between: Top 40, Rock, Oldies, AC, News/Talk & Beautiful. Our national reps were the cream of the crop from Group W, CBS, Eastman, Katz, Blair, McGavren-Guild, Christal, Buckley and many others. Bill Burton was, indeed, The Man. It was a golden time.

To say that these days are gone forever and radio will never recover to these levels again is probably true. And yet, when you look at the amazing way it all fit together, the dynamics of the stations, their representatives, their advertising partners, their all fused to deliver a great product with thoughtful marketing and strong content resulting in a fiercely loyal audience. What is so hard about that?

January 17, 2009


Nancy said...

It must be very hard to see a career you obviously cared very much about change so much. To say it is happening to a variety of jobs doesn't help in the least. I hope you are happy with the television station. My husband and I are looking at new and different ways to make a living. It's kind of exciting, but scary. What is really unnerving is to see so many career paths get ravaged, and now those people can be hired for so much less than what they are worth.

Ruth said...

Advertising is something I know little about, but it's interesting to read what you write about it.

Thank you for your very nice comment at synchronizing. I'm glad for the blog of note for meeting nice people like you.

Today, ahhhh, I feel the change already. It IS. It just is, even without him doing anything else. We have changed.

California Girl said...

Ruth: You are welcome. I simply felt simpatico with you when I read your blog. And yes, it is a great day.

California Girl said...

You may be able to view the company I now work for: RSN TV. They have a Tahoe station. It's primarily aimed at tourists but serves the local community businesses as well. I do like them tremendously.