My Capstone Class students read several books on management during the semester. Some are on personal management, self-improvement type books if you will, because how can you manage others until you can first manage yourself.
One of the books we read is Barry Drake’s “40 Years and 40,000 Sales Calls – Thoughts on Radio and Advertising based on a Lifetime of Customer Contact.” I highly recommend this book as a MUST READ for anyone considering a career in broadcasting or is currently working in broadcasting or is curious about what such a career is like.
When we finished the book and our discussion of the book, we did a Skype session with the author, Barry Drake.
Just in case you aren’t familiar with Barry’s book, I will share with you the Amazon synopsis:
“Barry Drake retraces the steps of his forty year broadcasting career to delight readers by telling stories and bringing to light things that have changed and so many things that have not.
Growing up in a media household, Drake saw the birth of television and the impact of local radio personalities. He picked up knowledge of business working in fast food and retail.
In radio, Drake began in the day of AM domination and participated in the rise of FM. Later he went on to head companies in radio and television.
40 Years 40,000 Sales Calls is loaded with Drake’s opinions on the current state of the media, radio in particular and what advertisers want. What makes this book unique is that the opinions all come from direct contact with advertisers. There is no B-school philosophy. Just real world knowledge obtained over forty years of real world work.
One hundred percent of the net proceeds from the book’s sales go to the Broadcasters Foundation of America to assist broadcasters who are in acute need. The Foundation does not endorse or subscribe to the views expressed in the book.”
So What Questions Float in Student Minds After Reading this Book?
You might be amazed as what goes through my student’s brains. Let me share with you some of their questions:
- How do the RAB (Radio Advertising Bureau) sales modules for the RMP exam compare to his own personal selling strategy?
- Where does he think he’d be if he didn’t grow up in a radio heavy household (both Barry’s dad & mom worked in radio)
- Barry said he fell in love with radio when he saw “the magical relationship between the radio station, the radio performer and the listener.” Now that we’ve entered the age of digital and voice tracking, is that relationship still magical in your opinion?
- When you are selling to a customer what is the most important step in building a relationship with your customers?
- How do you think broadcasting and broadcast sales will change in the next 10-20 years? Where do you think the radio industry is going?
- Do you have any regrets in choosing a broadcasting career?
- Do you see local radio becoming more popular than syndicated radio?
- Did you ever want to switch careers?
- What defines a leader?
I think you can see from just a sample of the questions my students had, we covered a lot of ground in that class session with Barry.
Barry Drake’s Wisdom
Barry says the biggest issue going forward will be competition for people’s time. Time will be at a premium in a world with unlimited media choices.
To be successful you will need faith. Faith in yourself, in your career and that everything will work out just fine if you dedicate yourself to your work with everything you’ve got.
You become what you think about, so focus your thinking on where you want to go.
Radio is “show” plus “business.” The business needs new ideas and innovation and that will soon be in the hands of graduating students.
Barry said there are three things to building advertising relationships with radio station clients:
- Show that you care
- Bring lots of ideas
- Respect the value of people’s time
A leader is anyone other people will follow.
A leader must have integrity.
A leader must do what’s right and what’s best for the enterprise, even though they realize not everyone will be happy with some of the decisions that have to be made.
A leader must earn their people’s respect every minute of every day.
Be aware of everything going on all around all of the time. Read all the trades, read the latest news about business and anything else that will impact your business and that of your radio station’s advertisers.
3 Things You Need to Be Successful
- Role Models are critical (Pick one for yourself, someone you can emulate)
- Find a Mentor (Have at least one. More is better.)
- You’ve got to have a horse to ride (In other words, you have to have an opportunity to apply your skills. Join a company you believe in, that has people you like working with and a mission you are ready to commit to.)
And in case you were wondering about that one student’s question about whether Barry ever thought about switching careers, the answer was: