Category Archives: Radio

What Do Radio Broadcasters & Almond Farmers Have In Common?

Last week, an article in The Atlantic titled “The Well Fixer’s Warning: The lesson that California never learns,” was a terrifying read about the water supply used to irrigate the almond orchards on the farms of Madera County. So many of the farm’s wells were coming up dry and the farmers were puzzled as to why water flowing out of their wells had been reduced to a trickle and were mostly producing sand.

Matt Angell is not only an almond farmer himself, but owns Madera Pumps, a company that drills wells and repairs well pumps. He knows that droughts, like the California sunshine go hand-in-hand, and as John Steinbeck wrote: “no one (forgets) the last drought faster than the farmer.”

Since the middle 1970s, almond farmers have persevered through at least five droughts and their solution to the problem was always the same – BUILD MORE DAMS.

BUILD MORE DAMS

Those three words stopped me cold. Who else thinks like this? Radio people, that’s who.

Today in America, there are now 26,076 radio stations on the air, 2,500 of these stations are broadcasting in HD which adds another 2,100 multicast radio channels to the mix. That’s about a 93% increase in the number of radio signals from when I started in high school.

The radio industry and almond farmers, have both felt that the way to grow is by adding more and more and more. Almond farmers added more acreage of almond trees and radio owners added more signals.

Aquifers

The dam reality was the San Joaquin River already had a half-a-dozen dams diverting its water, so the next solution to obtaining more water for almond irrigation was to drill down to the aquifers beneath the farmlands. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for the farmers of Madera County to pump out the easily available ground water and see their wells coming up dry. As they were drilling deeper and deeper into the earth, a hidden lake beneath the farmlands was discovered in 2014. It was shocking to see it pumped dry in only seven years.

Angell noted that the snow on the mountain had melted two months earlier than “normal,” and the water level of the San Joaquin river was so low, it was now nothing more than a series of unconnected ponds as well as the wells – residential, business and farming – all over the community were running dry.

The reality is, the Madera County underground water table is one of the most over-tapped aquifers in the West, and all those wells had depleted the underground water source, causing the aquifer to collapse.

The Advertising Pie

It was before the COVID19 pandemic gripped our world, Gordon Borrell hosted a webinar back in early 2019 and told of how the media pie (the radio industry’s aquifer, if you will) is over-tapped.

To put things in perspective, Gordon shared how an over-populated media landscape is impacting local advertisers.

  • 1,300 daily newspapers, 6,500 weeklies
  • 4,700 printed directory books
  • 4,665 AM radio stations, 6,757 commercial FM radio stations
  • 1,760 Class A TV stations
  • More than 1,000 cable systems with local sales staffs
  • 660,000 podcasts were actively produced in 2018
  • 495 NEW TV shows were introduced last year in addition to what’s already on
  • PLUS, local ad sales are taking place on Facebook, Google and Amazon

Same Old Answer

Despite the fact that the water from the aquifer and river was being depleted by droughts, climate change and being over-tapped, the almond farmers’ answer was always the same, said Mark Angell, “Plant more almonds and pistachios. Plant more housing tracts on farmland. But the river isn’t the same. The aquifer isn’t the same.”

Listen to radio owners, and they will tell you they too need more and more radio signals in order to stay viable, despite the fact that the advertising pie is finite and media supported by advertising continues to expand exponentially.

“I used to use the word unprecedented to describe what we’re doing to the land,” said Angell, but “now I use the word biblical.” Is it any different for radio broadcasters?

The Solution

For the nut farmers of Madera County, the solution is a hard pill to swallow, it’s “to figure out a way to retire one million acres of the six million farmed, “otherwise, we’re looking at a race to the bottom,” said Angell.

For radio broadcasters, Gordon Borrell said the solution to the future of media expenditures would be a process of “thinning the herd.”

The way advertising buyers are responding to a world of media abundance, Borrell says, is by:

  • Decreasing the number of companies from which they buy advertising from 5 to 3.5, and
  • 90% of their media buys are being made with companies who can bundle traditional and digital advertising.

Killing the Golden Goose

Do you remember the Aesop fable of the goose that laid the golden eggs? Let me refresh your memory of this tale. It’s about a farmer that was poor. One day he makes a startling discovery when he finds a golden egg in the nest of his pet goose. Skeptical at first, he has the egg tested and finds that it is indeed made of pure gold. Even more amazing, each day this farmer awakes to find that his goose has laid another golden egg. In very short order, this poor farmer becomes fabulously wealthy. But then his wealth brings greed and impatience. No longer satisfied with just one golden egg per day, the farmer cuts open his goose to harvest all of its golden eggs at once only to find the goose is empty inside. With a now dead goose, there will be no more golden eggs laid.

In remembering this fable, it sounded so familiar to the world of radio broadcasting and almond farmers. Both possessed a wonderful “goose” that laid daily “golden eggs.”

Unfortunately for almond farmers, in wanting more, they are killing their water supply, and for broadcasters not wishing to wait for each day’s golden egg, cut open their goose beginning with the Telcom Act of 1996, that allowed them to own as many radio stations as they basically wished.

The moral of Aesop’s fable is if you focus only on the golden eggs and neglect the goose that lays them, you will soon be without the very asset that produces the golden eggs.

The radio industry’s quest for short-term returns, or results, took their free FCC licenses and ruined them by not maintaining the balance between the production of desired results and the production capacity of the asset.

Aesop’s fable is the very principle of effectiveness. It’s a natural law. Like gravity, you don’t have to believe in it or understand its principles, but you can never escape its effects.

Radio broadcasters probably saw the moral of the fable being the more geese you own, the more spots you add to the hour, the more effective your R.O.I. (Return On Investment) will be.

Almond farmers saw the moral of the fable as planting more trees, install more powerful pumps to withdraw more water and watch your R.O.I. grow.

But ironically, it is the principle of “Less Is More” that in the end rules the day.

To be truly effective, you need to maintain the balance of what is produced (golden eggs/revenue) and the producing asset (your goose/radio station/almond trees).

Everything in excess

is opposed to nature.

-Hippocrates

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If It’s to Be, It’s Up to Me

The first time I ever heard those words, they came out of the mouth of Dick Vaughan.

Sadly, this lifelong radio/TV broadcaster left us on Monday, August 9th. He was one of those people you meet in life that you never forget; a larger-than-life personality.

Philadelphia

The first time I had the opportunity to spend some quality time with Dick Vaughan was in the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia. We worked for the same radio company, but in different Massachusetts cities. I worked in Pittsfield and he worked in Ware.

Over a weeklong NAB Management Training Program at The Wharton School, we would each learn that we shared many of the same passions: a love of the radio business, love of family, a love of learning and a strong desire to make a difference in the world.

Our days were spent in classes and every evening we had dinner together. During one of those dinners, Dick mentioned that he was a member of Philadelphia’s Joseph A. Ferko String Band. Since they would be rehearsing at Ferko Hall that evening, he asked if I’d like to go over and hear them? I said, “YES!” and we departed for 2630 Bridge street in Philadelphia.

One of the earliest LP (long play) record albums I remember owning was of the Ferko String Band, so this was very exciting, but puzzling news. How did Dick Vaughan who lived and worked in Ware, Massachusetts become a member of the Ferko String Band?

Ferko String Band

Turns out that Dick became involved with the band in 1956, when he was on a committee planning an anniversary celebration for the Massachusetts city of Medford. Having played the Ferko String Band’s records on the radio and knowing the spectacular regalia the band wore in the annual New Year’s Day Mummers Parades, he figured they would be a huge attraction.

Dick picked up the phone and called Joseph Ferko. Mr. Ferko told Mr. Vaughan that the band had never performed outside of Philadelphia. Now, Dick Vaughan lived by the attitude that there was no such thing as can’t, leading to the Ferko String Band’s first out-of-state performance in Medford. This first road trip would be a success and lead to years of extensive touring by the band and Dick Vaughan being invited to become a member. Dick’s membership in the Ferko String Band would span decades and often saw him in the role of Master of Ceremonies at many Mummer’s events.

Always Say “YES”

Another thing that bonded Dick and I, was a belief that the way you get ahead in the world is to always say “YES” when anyone asks you to do something. It’s by taking on new challenges that you learn and grow in life.

WARE Radio

WARE in Ware, Massachusetts is one of two American radio stations whose call letters are also the name of their city of license, the other being WACO in Waco, Texas.

Hearing Dick Vaughan talk about WARE and the success this radio station enjoyed, created a strong desire in me to drive to that part of the state and visit the station. I expected the building to tower over this rural community, but it didn’t, it was located in a single story structure. WARE was a powerhouse radio station because what the it accomplished for its advertisers, listeners and community. Dick Vaughan would be the station’s general manager from 1958 to 1986.

Hand Grenade

One of the sales stories I remember Dick sharing with me was how he got the attention of a business owner that wouldn’t stop and listen to him explain why advertising on WARE would grow his business. Dick’s solution to this problem was to go to an Army Navy Store and purchase a dud hand grenade. He returned to this business and stood in the middle of the store, held up the hand grenade and pulled the pin. The business owner froze in place and Dick would then say, “now that I’ve got your attention, let me tell you how WARE can help you grow your business.” DV made the sale and it would become a long-term advertising relationship.

YaGottaWanna

Dick Vaughan was a mentor to many people, both in and out of radio. Many remember a sign on his desk that read “YaGottaWanna,” and how he preached that the difference between winning and losing is all about the effort you put into what you want to accomplish and that you have to want to win.

He demanded that everyone who worked at the station had to bring their ‘A’ game every day, and if you didn’t, he made sure you heard about it.

Massachusetts Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame

It was just last month that Dick Vaughan reached out to me to support him in his effort to be selected for induction into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Dick didn’t make the cut in 2021, but it gave us a chance to spend an hour on the phone together. He told me about his TV show on Charlton Community Television Channel 12 and what programs he was working on. He never retired, explaining that staying active was one of the secrets to living a long life.

You’ve got to do something you love

Dick’s father was a U. S. Navy commander and he once told his son that you’ve got to find something you like to do in life and then figure out a way to get paid for it. Dick’s broadcasting career turned out to be just that, a job he loved and got paid for.

Dick Vaughan took a radio job opportunity he was offered back in the 1950s, gave it his all and never looked back.  

R.I.P. Dick Vaughan (August 21, 1935 – August 9, 2021)

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The Butterfly Effect

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines the butterfly effect “as a property of chaotic systems (such as the atmosphere) by which small changes in initial conditions can lead to large-scale and unpredictable variation in the future state of the system.”

Mathematician and meteorologist Edward Lorenz found that a very small change in initial conditions could create a significantly different outcome as he studied how data, that had been rounded in a seemingly inconsequential manner, greatly impacted the outcome. In other words, a very small change in the initial conditions created significantly different outcomes.

The concept, that small causes may have large impacts to weather patterns was also studied by French mathematician and engineer Henri Poincaré and American mathematician and philosopher Norbert Wiener.

The butterfly effect concept is now often applied to any situation where a small change is supposed to be the cause of larger consequences.

Speed Limits

Last week, Sue & I traveled to North Jersey for another granddaughter’s birthday. What we noticed as we drove the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway was that traveling the speed limit made us a “road hazard.” Even traveling 5 or 10 miles over the posted speed limit saw our car being passed as if we were standing still.

It made us wonder, how fast does one need to exceed the speed limit to be pulled over by a New Jersey State Trooper? Does everyone breaking the law, make it alright? Does speeding in one’s car have implications for other aspect of our lives?

Bicycling on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City

Growing up, my family enjoyed vacationing in Atlantic City. I remember rising early in the morning and heading to one of the many bicycle rental shops to ride the boards as the sun came up. In the 60s, bike riding was only permitted between the hours of 6 and 10am, and anyone caught riding a bike after 10am was immediately escorted off the boardwalk.

In July, 2016, the hours for riding bikes on the boardwalk were extended from 6am to 12 Noon.

But Sue & I, along with other pedestrians would find ourselves constantly dodging bicycles at all hours of the day and night as we strolled the boards and no one seemed to be enforcing the rules.

But it wasn’t just bicycles, people were also playing loud music, drinking alcoholic beverages, riding skateboards and walking their dogs along this world famous boardwalk.

Simple rules for the good of all, and no one enforcing them. Did these people think that because they can exceed the speed limit when driving, they can ignore other regulations too?

Wearing Face Masks

The places we stayed at, all had signs stating that face masks must be worn by everyone while inside the building, yet most people didn’t wear a mask. Some that did wear them, wore them below their nose or under their chin, which amounts to the same thing as not wearing one at all.

Is the reason we can’t get people to do this simple preventative measure, stem from the fact that we are okay with people doing their own thing, regardless of the consequences?

Climate Change

When we were out on the west coast for our oldest granddaughter’s high school graduation in Oak Harbor, Washington, we experienced the heat dome that impacted the northwest back in June.

It was dangerously hot, but it didn’t just happen by itself. It happened because like the disregard we show for speed limits posted on our roadways, the lack of respect we give to rules about when we can ride a bicycle on a crowded boardwalk, whether our discomfort in wearing a face mask outweighs infecting another person with the Delta virus, we continue to ignore the impact we’re having on the climate of the only planet humans have to inhabit.

To change the world, we must all first start with changing ourselves.

Speaking of change…

Radio on the Beach & Boardwalk

Walking the boardwalk, back in the 80s and 90s when I managed radio stations in Atlantic City, you heard radios playing all over the beach and every boardwalk store you entered, but that was then. Today what you hear are advertisements for casino shows, restaurants, and other coming attractions coming from digital signs with speakers placed every couple of feet along the boardwalk or music coming from the speakers placed in front of the various boardwalk casinos that broadcast messages to come inside.

Again, it’s worth noting that in each place we stayed, our rooms came equipped with high-speed internet and flat screen high definition television sets, but not a radio in sight.

Where Have All the DJs Gone?

Spinning the radio dial in my car, I was sad to hear nothing but songs, commercials, promos and jingles. The radio personality has vanished from most radio stations.

Pipe Organs and Radio Stations

At 12Noon every weekday, Boardwalk Hall offers a free 30-minute organ concert featuring the World’s Largest Pipe Organ. Sue and I have walked through the inside of this mammoth instrument and enjoyed hearing it stir our souls.

It occurred to me that maybe the reason I so love giant pipe organs is because sitting at the console of one these beasts, is like being surrounded by turntables, cart machines, reel-to-reel recorders and the master control board at a radio station.

Nothing happens from either, until a talented performer takes command and makes the magic happen.

I’m happy to report that we were entertained by a 19-year old organist last week who made the Midmer-Losh Boardwalk Hall pipe organ with 33,112 pipes and 449 voices that are all controlled from a seven-keyboard console on the arena’s main stage come alive.

I only wish I could say the same for radio stations we listened to, which today all are running without a new generation of broadcasters plying their trade. Most are simply running on auto-pilot.

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HD Radio – The Answer to the Question No One Was Asking

I was reading about how HD Radio was celebrating its 15th birthday recently and that had me scratching my head as HD Radio is older than that. In checking the records, I saw that the Federal Communications Commission selected HD Radio as America’s digital standard in 2002. By comparison, Steve Jobs introduced Apple’s iPod in October 2001, XM Satellite Radio began service in 2001 and Sirius Satellite Radio in 2002.

Radios Go High-Definition

This was the headline that appeared in the Baltimore Sun on January 7, 2004. Unfortunately, unlike HDTV (High Definition Television) HD Radio never stood for “High Definition.” And possibly that was the first mistake. HD Radio was simply a name they chose for the digital radio technology, but even today, many people still think it means “High Definition” or “Hybrid Digital.”

Sadly, by 2004, America’s digital radio was late to the party and if the industry is now marking the date of 2006 as its moment of birth, it was really late!

Remembering 2006

In 2006, Facebook opened up its social network to everyone in the world. The original requirement that you be a college student enrolled at a specific university was eliminated and the only requirement now was that you were over the age of 13 and had a valid email address.

In just 15-years, Facebook has grown to over 2.85 billion active monthly users.

Let’s look at what else was born in 2006 that competes for our attention:

  • Twitter was launched in 2006 and today enjoys 199 million monetizable daily active users.
  • Wii game system was introduced with its handheld motion controller that got families off the couch and in motion doing all kinds of sports in front of the TV.
  • PlayStation 3 came online to provide strong competition to XBOX 360. (Video gamers spent about eight hours and 27 minutes each week playing games, which is an increase of 14% over 2020. The video gaming industry predicts revenues of $100.56 billion by 2024)
  • Google bought YouTube in 2006 and now has over 2 billion users, the channel grosses over $19.7 billion in revenue and users are uploading videos at the rate of 500 videos per minute with over a billion hours/day spent watching videos on the platform.
  • The one billionth song was purchased from Apple’s iTunes, the dominate source for music lovers in 2006. (Two years later Spotify would arrive and not only disrupt how music was sold but how it was listened to in general.)

When we look at 2006, it becomes easier to understand why HD Radio wasn’t such a big deal to the average media consumer.

Solving a Problem That Didn’t Exist

What HD Radio did for FM radio stations was solve a problem that listeners to FM didn’t feel existed. No one who listened to FM radio was complaining about the quality of the sound, they were complaining about other things, like too many commercials. And for AM radio stations, it meant people buying radios for a service that didn’t offer anything they really wanted to hear or couldn’t get elsewhere. AM radio was now the service of senior citizens who already owned AM radios, who grew up with AM radio’s characteristics and whose hearing was not the best now anyway. So, HD Radio for AM wasn’t anything they were asking for and worse, AM radio stations that put on the new digital signal found it lacked the benefits of skywave and often interfered with other company AM radio stations as the industry quickly consolidated radio ownership.

Industries Most Disrupted By Digital

In March 2016, an article published by Rhys Grossman in the Harvard Business Review listed “Media” as the most disrupted by the growing digital economy. Turns out, if you’re a business-to-consumer business, you’re first being most disrupted by digital. The barriers to be a media company used to be huge, but in a digital world they are not, meaning that the business model that media companies depend on has not adapted well to the digital economy.

Elephant in the Room

But the elephant in the room remains the broken media business model. Newspapers, magazines, radio, and television – any media that is ad supported – will be challenged to find a way to capture revenue to continue operating.

Walt Disney famously said “We don’t make movies to make money, we make money to make movies.”

Broadcasters of my generation had that same attitude about creating great radio.

Do the people owning and operating today’s radio stations still embrace that concept?

* In 2021, it’s estimated there are 3.78 billion social media users worldwide.

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What I Recently Witnessed About Radio Use

Sue & I just returned from a seven week trip out west to visit our children and grandchildren who are living in Nevada, Montana and Washington. For me, our trip would also be a chance to witness how radio is used (or not used) in three different households, as well as in hotels, businesses and public transportation. What I would witness, was concerning.

Nevada

In Nevada, I noticed that for a household of seven, not a single radio was to be found. Audio was accessed by asking Alexa (Amazon Echo) to play something or a particular playlist was sent wirelessly to speakers via someone’s iPhone. Everyone, even the very youngest grandchild, who’s five, had their own iPhone.

In a house where both parents work, and can be called out at any hour of the day, this type of communications for all family members becomes a necessity.

Radio listening, if done at all, was something only done when in the car. Television, was connected to a cable bundle and only CNN or Netflix seemed to get viewed. The grandkids spent most of their time playing video games on the house computer, game console or their iPhones.

Montana

Here a Sonos home speaker system had been installed in the home. I found that two different local radio stations (country & classic rock) were programmed into rotation, along with an Amazon Echo smart speaker. Our grandkids called up songs they wanted to hear by asking Alexa to play them, so in the week we spent, Alexa was pretty much the default choice for anything musically played.

Television programs were all streamed via YouTube TV.

Radio pre-sets in the car were set to several country stations, several classic rock stations, several contemporary music stations and an oldies station. In all, 22 different radio stations were loaded onto the pre-sets. I added KBMC to that pre-set list when we borrowed the car a couple of times. KBMC programs a variety of jazz and classical music.

Washington

Our stay in the State of Washington took place on Whidbey Island. The only radio signal licensed on the island plays regional Mexican music and the majority of its content is in Spanish. So, it wasn’t surprising to find the pre-sets on the car radio did not include KNZW – La Zeta 103.3.

What was surprising was to see that all the pre-sets were to HD1 signals in this Mazda 6 sedan. (It appears Mazda has their radio default to HD signals and you have to toggle it off to get FM signals.) Since the island is just across the water from Seattle, all of the pre-sets were to Seattle radio stations. The two that dominated the listening in the car were KSWD (Audacy’s 94.1 The Sound) when mom was behind the wheel and KQMV (Hubbard’s Movin’ 92.5) when either of the grand kids got control of the radio. However, what is dispiriting to witness is how frequently the radio stations get changed whenever something comes on that they don’t wish to hear. When commercials come on, the station gets changed. Likewise, when songs they don’t like come on, the station gets changed. It’s like watching football using the Red Zone.

Here again, not a single radio receiver was to be found inside the home.

The Bus & Hotels

When we departed Whidbey Island, we took a bus into Seattle. On the bus we listened to KSWD 94.1 The Sound out of Seattle. It provided a nice sound track for the ride and the bus driver never changed the station for the two hours it took to reach our destination.

Every hotel room we stayed in featured flat screen TVs but none had a radio. The old clock radios have been replaced by digital clock/USB charging stations for our iPhones, iPads and laptop computers.

Summing It All Up

I realize there is nothing scientific about this, it’s all anecdotal, but it was a dose of reality that confirms much of the research I’m reading about today’s radio landscape.

No one in our seven weeks on the road tuned into any AM radio station. FM, was radio to everyone, but then, only in their vehicles. Listening to radio in the home was not possible, because there was only one radio in any of the homes we stayed at and that was in the garage.

HD Radio sounds great, but in all honesty, the one family that had this easily accessible in their car, probably didn’t know that’s what they were listening to and it certainly wasn’t the reason they were listening to any particular station.

With the exception of our two hour bus ride, radio exposure could be measured in short segments, that only happened to occur because the radio comes on with the ignition switch. Sadly, changing radio stations occurs constantly, so any commercial content never gets heard.

Likewise, businesses we frequented either had their own franchise “radio station,” like Walmart Radio or streamed a music channel from some other music service they subscribed to.

In our travels, we didn’t see a TV commercial, billboard or bumper sticker for any radio station. Lots of shirts and sweatshirts promoting lots of things, but not one for any radio station.

Radio, it would appear, has become the Rodney Dangerfield of media.

“We don’t get no respect.”

But then maybe, it’s a self-inflicted situation

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Sales is the Transference of Confidence

Here are three short stories for you to ponder.

Story #1

The other night a radio salesperson was in a restaurant. Business was a little slow, so he struck up a conversation with the owner who told him that she had used radio advertising for a restaurant she had owned back in California, and it didn’t work, and she didn’t intend to use radio ever again.

He told the owner that he and his wife had been in another restaurant in town a couple of days ago, and the service and food were both terrible. But, rather than never go to another restaurant again, he and his wife decided to try her place, where they found just the opposite. He suggested to her that just because radio didn’t work for her in one situation, there is no reason why she should conclude all radio advertising doesn’t work.

That radio sales person had a new client by the time they paid for their meal.

Story #2

Another radio salesperson was calling on a jewelry store. She had made several calls on the owner and was in the middle of a presentation when the owner suddenly asked her, “Have you ever bought anything from us?” She replied, “No, because you never asked me to.” She finished her radio advertising presentation. He signed up.

Story #3

Another radio sales person was calling on a car dealer who said, “I don’t like your radio station. I’ve never liked it and I don’t listen to it.” The radio salesperson responded, “I don’t care if you ever listen to us, for you see, we have a lot of people who do listen and like my radio station, and right now your advertising isn’t reaching any of them. But we are telling them about your competitors.” The car dealer was a little taken aback, but proceeded to get serious, and is now on-the-air.

Be Confident

Sales is the transference of confidence.

In each of these short stories, a radio salesperson was confident about their radio station delivering results. They were also prepared for such objections.

COVID-19 has shaken everyone’s confidence.

It’s never been more important that radio sellers “Be Confident.”

Preparation

Prepare, prepare, prepare.

There is no substitution for preparation.

As famed Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz put it,

“Everything is won or lost in the preparation stage.”

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If You Can Visualize It, You Can Do It

People who are the best at what they do, have one thing in common, no lack of self-confidence.

Visualization

Whenever successful people want to accomplish something, they go at it absolutely convinced they will achieve it. Science has shown that when we visualize achieving a goal, making it real in our minds, we enhance our performance and boost our self-confidence.

Improve Your Self-Esteem

Besides visualizing success, there are other things you can do to raise your self-esteem. For example: Reach out to others. Say nice things. Lend a helping hand.

When we help other people, we begin to feel more in control of our own lives.

Avoid Perfectionism

We all would like to be perfect. However, perfectionism often paralyzes us and can actually keep us from accomplishing our goals.

Respect Yourself

Make a list 20 reasons why you should. If you can’t think of 20, think of what people who admire you would say. (They’re right, you know.)

Your Values

Act in accordance with your own values. Choose the path that feels right for you.

Treat Yourself

Be good to yourself. Do something, just for you, that makes you feel good every day.

Challenge Yourself

Pick up an encyclopedia, or go online to Wikipedia, and read one new entry at random. Take a course at your local community college. Travel to a new place. Eat a new food.

As you meet new challenges, you gain new confidence.

Practice Being Optimistic

Fight pessimism. Think of setbacks as temporary, and one of a kind, not permanent and “complete” failures.

Don’t Take It Personally

Bad encounters often tell you more about how the other person feels at that moment in time, rather than representing a failure on your part.

Don’t Take Things So Seriously

Lighten up. Most of life’s little calamities have two sides. Try to gain a balanced perspective and you’ll bounce back more quickly from disappointments and embarrassing moments. And, people will enjoy being around you.

Finally

Practicing these positive measures will reinforce your self-worth, and increase self-esteem, which will make you more self-confident.

“Success occurs when opportunity meets preparation.”

-Zig Ziglar

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You’ve Got to Have Goals

Everyone wants to see their hard work turn into successful outcomes, so, why do some people achieve success and some do not?

The reason often comes down to one factor, lack of consistency.

Whether you’re trying to lose weight, or play an instrument or another life achievement, each of your goals requires a sustained effort. Let me share some ideas to help you sustain and focus your energies to achieve success.

Make Sure It’s Your Goal

Nothing will derail your success faster, then trying to achieve someone else’s goals for you. So, if you want to stay motivated, make sure you are the one setting the goal. When you’re excited about the goal, working to achieve it doesn’t seem like work.

Write Down Your Goals

Zig Ziglar always used to promote in his motivational and sales seminars, “You’ve got to have goals.” Sadly, about 84% of people surveyed said they didn’t have any goals.

Remember what Lewis Carroll wrote in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”

Writing your goals down turns out to be a critical step. Of the 3% of the people who have written goals, they earn on average about ten times as much as those who don’t.

When you write down your goals, you write them into your consciousness.

Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan

To stay focused and achieve your goals, you need to have an action plan. What are each of the steps you will take to move you from where you are today to where you want to be tomorrow, next month, next year etc.

Expect that as you proceed, things that you didn’t expect, like a global pandemic, will cause you to make changes in your plan. That’s why you should write your goals in concrete, and your plans in sand.

Keep Track of Your Progress

Write down where you started and then keep a record of your actions and progress. Measuring how your changing, provides you with a valuable feedback system, keeping you focused.

Have a Support System

Read positive books. Keep a success journal. Invite people you admire to become your mentor and make you responsible to someone other than just yourself.

You want people who will encourage you to reach your goals and challenge you to set them higher than you might otherwise.

Work Toward Your Goals Daily

I’m in my 6th year of writing this blog. I’ve now written over three hundred articles. My goal was to write an article a week, not hundreds.

Make sure you break down your goals into bite sized pieces. Don’t set too many for yourself,  you can achieve almost any goal you set, but not everyone, and not all at once. So, focus on just a few until they’ve been accomplished and then make some new goals.

Celebrate Every Success

Every time you do something that takes you closer to reaching your goal, celebrate. Celebration is a positive motivational tool to help you stay focused, energized and optimistic.

Tell yourself you deserve to succeed.

Here’s to your success!

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Profitability Depends on Repeat Customers

The radio advertising business is all about its ability to deliver both reach (the number of people who will hear your advertisement) as well as frequency (the number of times a listener will hear the same advertisement). Radio, for all of my life has been the medium for delivering the best frequency for an advertiser, but in today’s world, it now is also the best for delivering reach.

Pierre Bouvard, my first Arbitron sales representative and today the Chief Insights Officer at Cumulus Media/Westwood One, calls AM/FM radio the soundtrack of America’s recovery and spending resurgence.

Relationships

When I started out in radio sales, my first goal was to start making friends with each business person I called on. I used to say to myself, “If you can’t make a sale, make a friend.”

People do business with people they know and like, it’s first step in building relationships with your advertisers.

Advertising is an Investment

Patience is at an all-time low, so the problem in today’s fast-paced world is everyone wants things to happen immediately.

When you’re dealing with people and human nature, things move at their own pace.

Farmers know when they plant a crop, they won’t be going out the next day to harvest it. Likewise, when you put an advertiser’s message on the radio, it will take time to grow in the mind of the consumer. Done correctly, a business can be harvesting sales 52-weeks a year.

Great Radio Ads

Great radio advertising can benefit the listeners of your radio station in addition to growing the business of your advertisers. Great ads speak about the customer’s wants, needs and desires.

Getting Referrals

Make money for your advertisers and they will be happy to refer you to other local business people who could benefit from your radio station’s audience. And unlike cold-calling (knocking on doors of people you don’t know), a referral is like getting a foot-in-the-door. It’s golden.

Fair Prices & Excellent Service

Studies have shown you don’t have to have the lowest price to attract repeat business, fair prices will do.

Combine fair prices with excellent service and you have a winning combination for building repeat business with your customers.

Your goal as a radio sales person should be to become a sustaining resource for your customers. A person who they call first when they need help with their advertising or promotions; a person they can trust.

You Can’t Do It Alone

Everyone in your radio station that comes in contact with your listeners and advertisers impacts the future relationship your enterprise will have with each of them. Everyone needs to be engaged in delighting your listeners and your advertisers.

It takes a team effort to be successful.

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My Desk is Cluttered, Not My Mind

One of the snappiest dressers on television was Morley Safer. But if you were to peek into Morley’s office when he was off-camera, you would have seen an office that was quite the opposite.

Depending on your point-of-view, a cluttered desk might have been thought of as a cluttered mind, or the opposite; a clean desk means an empty mind.

Spatially Organized

Let me offer you a third perspective.

My desk is usually cluttered when I’m deep into a project.

What I have learned about myself was I tend to be spatially organized, and when things get neatly put away, out of sight, in a file drawer, they are also out of mind. Mine!

Productive Workspaces

We’re all different.

When people try to design workspaces for others, it will most likely fail.

In his book, “Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives,” Tim Harford explains how engineered spaces can kill productivity and innovation, while having a messy workspace might actually help us to do some of our best work.

Arbitron

I remember entering Arbitron’s new facility when it opened in Columbia, Maryland. Everything was fresh and new and oh, so very sterile.

One of the managers could be seen chasing people around and chastising them for taping things to the walls or for having a cluttered desk.

This type of order is fine for an automobile assembly line, but not your radio station.

WLAN AM/FM

When I moved WLAN AM/FM from its original location in downtown Lancaster, PA to a brand-new facility, I told everyone that their workspace was theirs to decorate as they wished.

I even let everyone pick out their own style and color of desk and chair.

Everyone was excited for moving day to arrive and had been planning for months how they would set-up their new offices.

Studies have shown that when people are allowed to decorate their work place with the stuff and personal knickknacks they love, productivity can increase by as much as 32%. In fact, people are not only more productive, they are also happier and healthier.

Moves can be really disruptive to a business, but when I moved my Lancaster radio stations, we had a record setting year in both ratings and revenues.

Mix It Up

Another way to stimulate innovation and productivity in your station, is to create spaces where everyone bumps into each other on a regular basis.

When Steve Jobs was designing Apple’s new building, he purposely made sure there would be spaces that would cause employees from all sectors to come in contact with one another.

Diversity of thought and ideas come from everywhere and everyone.

So, break down the silos that walls create, and have some space that brings your people together like a tossed salad.

This will be a real challenge as COVID-19 sees more companies allowing their employees to continue to work from home as an option, versus daily commuting to an office.

The Take Away

The key thing to know about creating a productive work environment is this, you can’t dictate it. You have to empower your people to create it for themselves.

People who have power over their workspace tend to be more engaged, productive and collaborative.

Just remember, it can get a little messy at times, but that’s how greatness is birthed.

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