A Letter from a Media Negotiator | radioinfo

A Letter from a Media Negotiator

patbryson_copy_172One of my dear friends owns a large media buying company in the United States, ROI Media. When I managed radio stations, Les Boyle and I locked horns many times over rate, rotation, "added value", etc. He's one of the best negotiators I've ever known.

Recently he copied me on a letter he had written to radio and television sales people. He agreed that I could share it with you. He knows what he's doing, and I believe he speaks for many of the buyers in our business. It's important that we understand the world of the buyers with whom we deal. We need to understand their buying motivation. Les says it better than I ever could. Here are his words of wisdom:

"Nothing in this world ever turns out to be as easy as it is perceived to be before you get started.

The thought of having to "deal", to most neophyte sales people, is a producer of acid reflux at the least, and enough to strike fear with some of the older "hanger-ons" who have been around for years and never quite gained an understanding of the dynamics of the business world and how deals are done and undone.

The first "negotiation" goes back to the Garden of Eden and that went badly because the couple in residence were not listening.  As we relate negotiating to the business at hand, broadcast media, I think it of some importance to point out a couple of salient points:


  1. We did not start it.  Negotiations are a fundamental business practice, even more precisely, a part of life. They are everyday occurrences with just about everything we do. So, we accept that. 
  2. Next, of key importance, no one ever did a deal that they did not want to do.  Factors motivating the decisions may vary widely, but the end result is a simple "Yes" or "No".

Broadcast time is a commodity, a very perishable commodity.  If you do not sell the commercial time, the cash flow opportunity disappears. You can't make it up later.  You cannot do anything but bemoan the loss. It comes down to inventory management, and there are as many opinions on the best way to maximize cash flow as there are professional managers managing cash flow.  We see commercial inventory management as one of the reasons that our "buying" business is viable.

Historically, the total population of both radio and TV stations has exploded over the past twenty plus years.  The days of yore, where a moderately-sized market had six or seven go-to radio stations and three network affiliate TV stations, is long gone.  No one station has the clout that they think they do.  You may say "No" to certain pricing today, but in a couple of days come back ready to deal.  It is a fact of business life.

That moderate sized broadcast market now has forty or fifty radio stations and formats.  On the TV side, a minimum of six network affiliates, plus multiple cable systems, selling ads.  As a planner and buyer, this is a true challenge.  A challenge and motivation to bring the client the most effective and efficient communications plan, and that is what we are in business to do: help our clients build sales success utilizing the most demographically and psychographically efficient communications outlets. 

The efficiencies are the result of our negotiations based on our determination of the value of the audience in a competitive marketplace.  You can call me mean and a rate chiseler all you want.  I am doing my job, and that does frustrate you.  Maybe you are not doing yours as well as you could and that is the real seat of the frustrations."

About The Author 

Pat Bryson is the founder of Bryson Broadcasting International, a consulting firm that works with radio stations around the world to increase revenue by raising the skill level of their sales staffs. Her client list spans from the United States to Canada, Europe and Central Asia.

Pat has spent her entire career creating a culture of over-achievement for her stations. She began her career in radio sales, becoming one of the highest billing sales people in her market. Her career advanced to General Sales Manager, and then to Market Manager. Since starting BBI 7 years ago, she has helped hundreds of radio stations to find, train and grow great quality sales people and managers.

Pat was the recipient of two prestigious educational fellowships from the Educational Foundation of the National Association of Broadcasters: a fellowship to the Executive Development Program and a fellowship to the Broadcast Leadership Training Program.

She publishes the Bryson Broadcasting International Newsletter twice monthly and is a contributor to Valerie Geller’s latest book, Beyond Powerful Radio: A Communicator’s Guide To The Internet Age.

You may contact Pat at Pat@patbryson.com or visit her website at http://www.patbryson.com.

This article was republished with permission from Pat Bryson's Newsletter



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