Which Came First − The Music or the Sale?

Oct 21, 2014 9:43:25 PM / by Kitty Malone

media sales departments and programming staff have to work together for success Sales and programming - two great things that go great together.
Representing radio station KOME, Tulsa, Oklahoma, late 1940s. Photo, www.tulsagal.net/2010/08/kome-revisted.html.

"Without sales, no one at the station will get a paycheck.” (Quote from anyone in sales management.)

“Without music/sports/controversial talk show host, you won’t have anything to sell.” (Quote from anyone in programming.)

The program director is responsible for delivering ratings and listeners. The Sales Department is responsible for taking those and delivering dollars. If the Sales Department ignores or impedes the programmers’ responsibility by running non-targeted spots or coming up with lousy promotions that result in tune out, there are fewer listeners and lower ratings. If the Programming Department ignores or impedes Sales’ needs by not giving them programs to sell, or by giving a thumbs down on a copy or promotional idea, there are fewer dollars.

So which is more important in the Grand Scheme of Things?

I was on a call with one of our Efficio customers as we discussed Average Unit Rate (AUR) vs. Average Minute Rate (AMR) as we worked with them on inventory management and maximizing their inventory. The difference is (I know – math! – but bear with me):

You have a stopset with three minutes. Let’s say a :60 = $100; and :30 is 75% of that, or $75; and a :15 is 50% of the :60 rate, so is $50.  With those rates you can, for some examples, do the following:

  • Run 3x :60s = $300 for the stopset.
  • Run 2x 60 and 2x :30  = $100+100+75+75 = $350 for the stopset.
  • Run 1x :60 and 2x :30 and 4x :15 = $100+75+75+50+50+50+50 = $450 for the stopset.

Easy decision, sales managers, on how to maximize your inventory, right? But the program director also thinks it is an easy decision – the first option is fewer interruptions, as research shows that listeners find more than four or five consecutive commercials (the length doesn’t matter) annoying and they move away to a channel with fewer commercials.

This particular Efficio customer said that since they were selling so many :30s and had a limit on number of units (placed by those programmers), she was not maximizing what she had available. If she was limited to three minutes, or  four UNITS, and each was a :30, she could only run two minutes, and was leaving money on the table, as she saw it.

Her answer?  Throw out that unit limit and load up those minutes with shorter spots. We suggested that she be sure her Programming Department was ok with her decision. I have been involved in that battle, and came to realize that both departments had to win for the overall station to win. And that is the point.

Can Programming live without Sales? Sure…until payday. Can Sales live without Programming? Sure…until the dead air means no listeners and no sales. It is important for the two departments to respect the other and realize what each brings to the table, and to recognize how each is there to enhance the other. Can’t we all just get along?

By Kitty Malone, Efficio Solutions Manager of Client Services

Tags: inventory, Media Sales, AMR, AUR, yield management, Blog, media sales process

Kitty Malone

Written by Kitty Malone

Director of Customer Service