Stand up and deliver or stand up and be posted?


The subject of posting radio seems to the topic dujour of late in the industry. Personally I have gotten a little tired of reading why radio can’t, won’t post, etc., and up until recently that’s all you really read about (from the vendor side at least).  Of late however, there appears to be a paradigm shift towards posting radio as a practice that would be good for the industry as a whole, and I agree as I think most radio advertisers and their agencies would as well. I think the challenge now is more a logistical one, i.e.  exactly how to post. With PPM ramping up, but diaries still being the main currency for the moment there is the challenge of how to post in a soon-to-be post diary world. However, the reality is that significant PPM penetration is still a ways away, and we will never lose the diaries completely as many small and mid-size markets will never be PPM measured. So is the sudden support of posting just lip service to the advertiser community during this economic downturn? Are stations saying anything to get on the right side of ad budget allocation (which is understandable), or is it real? Do stations realize that in order to be relevant in today’s very accountable ad world, doing what you say you’re going to, proving it by making good on your promise, either by delivering, or making up shortfall, is critical in order to be part of the serious consideration set for ad dollars?

I am of the belief that many station owners realize the old days are gone, and changes like digital platforms and posting are part of the recipe for survival. For naysayers who still bemoan the practice of posting for whatever reason, I say “get over it”. Yes there will be challenges, but so what.  Figure it out, do the best you can to show value and gain advertiser confidence. It may be painful, but it’s the right thing to do and will help us all out in the long run. This next statement is not meant to be an “I remember when blah, blah, blah”, but I do remember when I started as assistant  radio buyer and I began to post local schedules myself based on both spot and audience delivery and was told the that’s not how things were done. My response was “show me the rule book”. It made sense to me that a seller should deliver on his/ her promise and my boss and clients agreed. So I posted, issued credits and took ADU’s when necessary. It wasn’t hard to do, it kept everybody honest and I never saw any consistent shortfalls that would lead me to say the radio as an industry can’t deliver. Indeed, I basically felt most schedules did deliver and in fact often did quite well.

When working across different media (a positive by-product of agency life), you gain perspective on some of the inherent unfair comparisons radio is sometimes subject to. It doesn’t seem fair at times, and doesn’t seem right, but it is a reality we all face. I wish I could change it. Or as our President said in a recent Rose Garden Q&A to the press re: his acknowledgement that we are in-fact in a recession; “If I had a magic wand I’d change it ……. I would”. 

Well the only magic wand I have is the Dora magic wand in my daughter’s room. And the last I checked it didn’t come through when I asked that it produce large sums of cash  (small bills in paper bag). So don’t wait for that incantation to suddenly kick in. Roll up your sleeves and POST I say. Stand behind your product, use PPM data to your advantage, do the best you can with diary information. Make clients know you are there for them. Help yourself, help your clients, help all of us in this industry.  Go forth and prosper!

Well so much for the cheerleading. It’s Father’s day and I have to deliver on my promise of a trip to the zoo.

–Matt Feinberg, SVP/National Radio; SVP/Director, Interactive Broadcast; Director/Radio, Zenith Media Services