Do Radio Programmers and Sellers Hate Each Other?

Okay, that’s an exaggeration.  Let’s just say the average program director and the average seller don’t always see eye-to-eye.

And who can blame them?

After all, on one side they’re protecting the product experience for the audience, and on the other side they’re protecting the business model for the clients, the owners, and the employees.

But here’s the newsflash:  All that is changing.

Watch this video and see how the structure of the average radio station is all wrong.  And a new structure will yield unparalleled cooperation between the product folks and the sales folks who, for the first time, will be on the very same side.

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  • Awesome. Welcome to 1985! You mean radio still doesn't understand that people buy what they like from people that they like?

    The challenge hasn't been with programming and sales… it starts with the “C” level management and ownership that says, “we're going to be the biggest best radio station in town for 40 year olds… now go sell ads to vendors that want to reach 40 year olds.” Then they tell their program directors to play this and that because that's what 40 year old like. And, amazingly, this almost never aligns. Surprise… it must be that the program director and sales guy/gal hate each other and don't want each other to win.

    The bottom line is that if you want to sell ads, then you better know what it is that your audience wants to buy. Consumers today just aren't listening to things that they don't already like. So, no matter how much you think that new toaster oven will appeal to this audience, it still isn't going to make people listen… until of course, that toaster oven is gaining in popularity.

    If you want to win in the consumer advertising / programming / content game then you better quickly learn how to engage lifestyles and start working on your lifestyle branding… today. Consumers today purchase lifestyles… not products and services.


  • All true. My point was really directed at the convergence of digital and programming creating metrics which match up the incentives between programmers and sellers in ways that are undeniable and supersede any otherwise logical argument 🙂

  • Rob Edwards

    I think the problem is the historical nature of the industry – which is a good point well made! Moving forward it absolutely needs to become about content and consumer aggregation to be succesful.

    One warning would be we have to be very careful in the terminology used because it could become the “old wine in a new bottle” analogy.

    Sales should embrace the content development for clients that is either in or out of the product portfolio all due to the rise of client website reliance.

    On a positive note I do enjoy the posts Mark.

  • Jim Morrison


    Let's go one step further on the content discussion with a little word play – a non scientific survey that I've conducted about 200 times.

    Fill in the blank C O N T E __ T
    90% of all programmers say CONTEST

    Do it again C O N T E __ T
    If you said CONTENT you're in a growing minority. When sales and programming can agree here it's a start.

    One more time: C O N T E __ T

    If you said CONTEXT welcome to the future – and a visceral connection.

    Through digital assets listeners and advertisers now have control of CONTEXT: matching CONTENT to mood, target audience, need, environment, etc.

    Radio's rush to manipulate ratings turned CONTEST into CONTENT. The result? Being out of CONTEXT with many potential listeners. Listen to your station for a day. How much of what you call CONTENT is a CONTEST?

    Other examples:
    A 150 song playlists up against Pandora? Out of CONTEXT with music discovery lovers.

    3 DJ's laughing at their own jokes in AM drive? Out of CONTEXT with most professionals. Note NPR's success in PPM.

    And one more: CONTENT for your station is NOT a review of last nights Dancing with the Stars.

    Inspire your sales and programming teams to develop way for listeners to have control of the CONTENT in CONTEXT with their lives.

    Thanks for the forum Mark!

    Jim Morrison
    Definition 6 Atlanta

  • Renee Cassis

    I agree with the concept, but calling it content instead of programming isn't going to change the dynammics. We need a cultural shift in perspective. There should be a Marketing person at each cluster to promote the station and to oversee production of in-house commercials. The position of the Marketing Director needs to be elevated in line with the PD and the Sales Manager so that they have some clout and backing from management. It's ridiculous to have sales people writing copy and an engineer who we call a production specialist producing commercials. If it sounds good; it's not clutter!

  • Thanks for the thoughts, Jim!

  • Rob, anybody who thinks we can simply slap a “content director” title on a “program director” and change nothing else is surely missing the point.

  • I am absolutely NOT simply arguing for a change in terminology. I am arguing for a change in wholesale thinking.

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