Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Less is NOT More . . . It is SIMPLE

It is time for broadcasters to re-think the “norms” under which we have been operating. Our business is being trampled by herds of sacred cows. What we have been doing is no longer working (and not likely to work in the future).

Let’s start with this: “Less is NOT More!” The solution is SIMPLE.

Salespeople. “Cost Accounting 101” teaches that you keep adding salespeople (technically, sales costs) until the marginal revenue (the amount of additional sales coming in) equals the marginal expense (the expense going out). In other words, you do not arbitrarily fire one third of your local sales departments and expect your local sales to increase. Won’t happen. Didn’t happen. Less is NOT More. The old saying about the ideal number of salespeople for your radio station is true: “One more than I have!”

Investment. Less investment in your product(s) does not yield a higher return. “Let’s cut out Research, Sales Training, Live and Local Talent, and Employee Benefits . . . and by the way, let’s run our local news station with no local newspeople.” Lower costs? Yes. Lower revenue? Yes. Less is NOT More.

Marketing and Promotion. When is the last time you saw major ad spend for a radio station on TV? Billboards? We have quit promoting and wonder why we’re losing relevancy. What about good, old-fashioned “on the street” promotions? Do you see many station vans around town? Do you see your own? Or have you caved in to high gas prices? And what about your investment in digital offerings and social marketing products and people? Can we really expect to compete in a digital world if we’re not investing for the future? Less is NOT More.

Pride. Does everyone in your shop feel good about your station(s) and your company? Are you proud of your on-air product and your stream?

Leadership. Are you leading or are you managing? Will your troops storm the beach with you? How much coaching is going on? Or has the HR department’s Policies and Procedures manual become the book of choice? Randy Michaels got this right years ago when rumor has it that his manual simply stated something to the effect of, “Work hard, compete ruthlessly, play hard, and stay legal.”

Enthusiasm. This is a natural offshoot of Leadership. You won’t have one without the other. We’re in the RADIO business. It should be (and once was) a hotbed of creativity and talent. Is it any wonder why the kids don’t want to work for us anymore? The “buzz” is missing. You know it when you spend more of your time making forecasts than sales calls.

Less is NOT More. Should we really be that surprised that revenue has been flat to down for going on nine years? This is not about “How we did it back in the day.” It is about “How will we be relevant five, ten years from now?” Less is NOT More.

Those are my thoughts. What are yours?