Monday, February 13, 2006

Talk Radio, Is Anyone Listening To This Stuff?

A few months ago I was invited to play golf with a gentleman who wanted to know more about what it is I do.  After our round, before we got into what I do, I asked what he does for a living.  To my surprise he said he was in Retail Development.  Not knowing much about what Retail Development was exactly about we spent more time talking about what he does than on me and Business Golf.


When I got around to asking the questions I ask all of my contacts, ‘What is the ugliest, smelliest, itchiest pain in the backside business problem you want to get rid of?’  He looked at me for a moment and said,


His Marketing Plan. 


Now this was nearly a first, I have had senior executives through around dumping Marketing Plan before, but this one was different.


We talked and I told him how marketing plans are developed.  Then came the statement that brings excitement and satisfaction to a business person, he said, ‘Could I hire you to take a look at my Marketing Plan to tell me where I need to change?’.. 


Well, this has been one of many opportunities that have developed after Business Golf, but the story doesn’t stop here.


I showed up at his office a few days later and was introduced to his staff and immediately set up camp in his conference room to go over the Marketing Plan with his marketing group page by page.


All looked normal with the exception of the want to advertise on a morning radio.  He pointed to the paragraph where it said they wanted to place advertisements on Morning Radio so they could have the radio playing when their stores opened at 8AM.  They wanted the customers in the store to hear their commercials. He asked if I had any recommendations for stations.


I sat back a moment and thought out what would best fit his demographic and said there are a few choices.  He then said the magic words, ‘Can you research which of the stations in Dallas would best serve is stores need and give his staff my recommendations?’


I agreed and we wrapped up for the day.  The next day I was working in my office I started my research by considering which station would best fit his demographics of 18 to 32 year old.  I reacted to Alternative Rock. 


I called around to a dozen or so of my contacts and told them what my assignment.  I asked if they would join me for two weeks in listening to the Alternative Rock station in the morning from 6AM to 9AM.  All agreed and I told them I would touch base with them from time to time.


Since there is only one Alternative Rock Station Dallas, the fifth largest radio market in the country, I turned the station on.  Immediately my intelligence was insulted by more than 20 minutes of talk about subjects that had absolutely no general interest before I heard any music. 


I went on about doing office work listening to the station like I was an customer or employee.  When the music was on I was highly productive, but when the on air personalities came on I had to stop what I was doing and turn the volume down. 


If it was just one personality on the air it would be very simple to manage, but when there was three, all with nicknames.  It was hardly bearable.   Then when the sports news came I thought, finally, something of general interest, but no.  The sports jock was worthless and was more into womanizing than talking sports and when he did he had absolutely no idea what he was talking about.


I picked up the phone to call a few contacts and all confessed that they did not enjoy the assignment because of the TALK and all had already changed the channel.


This went on for the entire two weeks.


I filed my Executive Summary to my client and included my recommendations to not use Morning Radio to advertise due to the TALK.  My client agreed and reported that they got the same advice from their adverting agency and consultant.


I went back to my office and fired off an email to Clear Channel here in Dallas telling what is taking place and to consider trying a format of radio that was more popular to the age group,  like playing music.  I got a polite reply thanking me for my comments.


Last week, my client called and asked if I had listened to the Alternative Rock station the last couple of days.  I replied I had not.  He said they got rid of the TALK….  My reaction was REALLY, and I turned on the station, and sure enough there was MUSIC….


I listened for a few days in bliss enjoying the latest hits and other unusual music I would normally not listen to, and I heard ads for sponsors that I did hear before.


I fired off another email to Clear Channel thanking them for the change and soon as I sent it there was an advertisement on the radio about the New Talk Show they will be starting Tomorrow….


My phone range and it was one of the Sales and Marketing people leaving me a message.  I called back and we chatted.  I enjoyed the conversation and we shared what we each do, but I left disappointed because Clear Channel management will not think outside the box to offer the people in the market what they want, Music.  Their style of management is to ‘Competition reaction’.  If their competition is playing Talk they have to play talk…. 


Is anyone listing to the TALK SHOWs?, not anyone I know…or want to know…


About The Author:  As President of Innovative Business Golf Solutions, Scot Duke provides over 31 years of corporate management experience to helping small businesses improve their marketing strategies.


Innovative Business Golf Solutions, LLC.

214 549-0306


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Author of: ‘How To Play Business Golf’, From The Boardroom To The Fairways…

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