Because we’ve always done it this way…

Selling Radio Direct with Pat Bryson

I was on a market visit with one of my stations a couple of weeks ago. We were discussing how to sell a sports team whose games we carry. Traditional sponsorship offered the choice of day games or night games. Take your pick or buy both. There are many more night games than day games. But, guess what? More people bought day games thinking that “everyone will watch the night games on TV.”

Since the night games are only carried on cable in that area, my first thought was,“How many people have access to the night games on TV?” No one knew the cable penetration in their market. My second thought was, “Why give a choice? Why not package both day and night games into one sponsorship?” You have to buy both. The answer was, “We’ve always done it this way.” In further discussion, I discovered the derivation: the games were carried on an AM daytimer. Until the advent of the translator, they could not carry night games. When the translator made night games viable, they simply added another package instead of integrating night games with the day games.

I was reminded of the old story about roasting a turkey. The daughter watched her mother prepare the turkey for the oven all during her childhood. The first step was to cut the end off the turkey. When the daughter grew up and began to roast her own Thanksgiving bird, she began by cutting the end off the turkey. Finally, her husband asked her why she did that? She said, “Because that’s the way we’ve always done it.” When his in laws came for Thanksgiving dinner, her husband asked her mom why she cut the end off the turkey. The answer: because that’s the only way it would fit in the roasting pan she had.

Maybe it’s time we examine how we sell our products. When was the last time you evaluated all your sponsorships, rate cards, programs, and events to see if they make you money? Is there a better way to sell them? Do the rates need to be increased? Decreased? Do certain shows/programs/events even need to be continued? Let’s make sure that we aren’t cutting the end off the turkey simply because “we’ve always done it that way.” Business evolves and changes for our clients. It evolves and changes for us too. 2022 is the year to rebuild, to recover, to move forward. Evaluating our structures may be a good place to start.