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What Broadcasters Can Learn From CVS

March 14, 2018

Just a few years back, CVS was your typical drug store selling cigarettes, toys, snacks, and health care goods with a pharmacy in the back. The pharmacy was always located in the back, so as you were picking up your prescription, you might also buy other items in the aisles that you walked past.

Over the past few years, CVS has evolved into something very different. While still selling many of the items it sold before, it transformed itself to focus more on consumer health.

First it added Minute Clinics in just about all of its locations. Instead of going to an emergency room for a minor ache, or if you could not get an appointment to see your doctor, Minute Clinic was there. It was likely that, after visiting the clinic, you would pick up what you needed on the shelves or at the pharmacy.

Next, in a bold move, CVS decided to stop selling cigarettes and all tobacco products. While a strong profit center, the company announced that the sales of tobacco products conflicted with its goal of promoting a healthier lifestyle.

Recently CVS announced it was buying Aetna, one of America’s largest insurance companies, for a reported $69 billion. CVS saw the changes in the way people buy prescription drugs and get health care and made the move of buying Aetna. Health care was changing, and CVS acted to protect its core.

CVS saw a changing consumer base and how people would be getting their health care, and changed their business. They went from a drug store with a pharmacy in the back to a major health care provider.

So what does this have to do with radio broadcasters? Our industry is going through changes. Like each CVS store, radio stations have a geographic area they serve. But what people expect is changing.

If we rely on the way we did it ten years ago, we will lose. Smart and, ultimately, successful broadcasters will evolve to meet people’s changing needs.

  • Repackage your station with podcasts.
  • Create a video channel on YouTube.
  • Evolve your promotions department into an events department.
  • Have your sales people become Google and digital experts.

Remember, you still have the radio station, which can be used as a megaphone to promote these other ventures.

None of these changes are easy, and they don’t occur without the ability to implement a well-thought-out strategy. Success is not easy.

The only thing we know is, we will fail if we, as an industry, do not evolve to the changes in the market.

-Charlie Sislen, Partner