CEO Response to "Radio Is As Strong As Ever"

April 6, 2018

Radio Ink, posted an article yesterday with the title, "Radio As Strong As Ever" after Nielson Audio reported that radio's reach is to 93% of the population. Is reach the final and lasting guide for radio's strength? CEO from The Media Store, Hugh McPherson, weighed in:


During my 30 years selling radio as an account executive, sales manager, general manager and as a group VP my focus was rarely on this number in conversation with clients.  I never instructed my sellers to focus on 93% population reach for radio every week. My fellow radio sellers, managers and executives thought I was crazy.  


Now, let’s put this in perspective. I took over 34 radio stations that were mostly disasters and turned them into high-performing cash flow machines.  This was in-spite of the fact that I ignored this sacred cow fact that everyone in radio loves to recite.  When I was a seller every account I touched grew their sales and my sales grew as a result.  Each sales team I led would soon put plaques on the wall showing the records we had quickly set.  The radio company I took over went from the verge of bankruptcy to record cash flow and net income in one year!  Still, other managers even in my own company would tell me that ignoring that fact would lead to my demise.  Meanwhile, my teams set records, won awards and my fellow managers changed stations.      


Why did I largely ignore this fact?  My thought process was very simple.  First of all, I figured that clients, both agency and direct, knew this fact already and if they weren't already buying radio then they would not be interested in buying radio based on this fact alone.  Second, most clients are concerned about what your station can do for them, not that what our industry has achieved as a whole.  Think of it this way, telling a client that radio reaches 93% of consumers is stupid when you have a small AM station in Toledo that reaches 5,000 listeners in a market of well over a half million people.  While my competitors were focused on this number and trying to impress clients my team would ask questions like, "Can 5,000 consumers make a difference in your business this week?"  They almost always answered yes!  


So what is the answer?  The fact that radio has 93% reach each week is amazing but logical. Radios are everywhere, easy to use and the it's FREE!  I can listen to Dua Lipa’s song "New Rules" on the way to Cleveland Hopkins airport, fly to Atlanta, get in a rental car and before I reach Buckhead I have most likely heard Dua Lipa's song again!  Why would radio NOT have 93% reach?    


Digital is kicking radio's butt in sa