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We Must Hang Together

May 7, 2020

Before the FCC loosened their ownership limits, broadcasters could only own two stations (one AM and one FM) in a given market. At that time many markets had local market groups to help the radio broadcasters in their market.

Organizations like the SCBA (Southern California Broadcasters Association) were vital to the success of our industry on a local market level. While many of them had the primary duty of promoting radio to advertisers, they did so much more.

Many had training and mentoring programs that help young account executives to be better prepared for the rigors of their careers. Others held seminars and sessions that kept both rookie and veteran sales people current on changes in the industry. And yes, many of these groups had social events where colleagues and competitors could let their hair down and mingle.

However, the most important task these organizations did was to get in front of advertising decision makers and promote radio. This allowed our industry to speak in a single voice to advertisers who are allocated ad dollars across numerous advertising outlets.

Since deregulation, many individual markets are often dominated by one or two clusters, and these local market trade groups have been greatly diminished, or in many cases completely disappeared. At the same time, new advertising outlets, like Pandora and Spotify, have grown in popularity with both consumers and advertisers.

I believe that it is time for local market radio broadcasters to bolster these trade associations. In the past, their value was tremendous. Now they have the potential to help radio exit the existing economic catastrophe to become strong and reinvigorate the sales side of your individual market.

Large radio groups and the RAB are focused on swaying national advertisers to use radio. However, we need the local groups to promote radio to those advertisers that service just our community or region.

Now is a perfect time for broadcasters to restart this system of cooperation, so that we all can benefit for what radio does best.

I am reminded of Benjamin Franklin’s quote just after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. He said, “We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.” If we join together, we will all grow.

I invite you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

-Charlie Sislen, Partner