Walter Sabo’s Creative Confession
From consultant Walter Sabo:
CONFESSIONS OF A CREATIVE GUY. DID I USE THE “C” WORD? YES I DID.
By Walter Sabo
Radio is successful because of very creative, imaginative programmers who invent formats 24/7. They do this without much help, precious little research and the assurance that when in doubt, the sales manager will be allowed to win the argument. Any argument.
The work of creative programmers has resulted in the fact that 65% of the American public listens to the radio every day. 82% listen every week. 98% of the homes in the US own a radio. In fact, the average home has seven radios. Why? Because they like what comes out of the speakers. What comes out of the speakers is made by creative programmers.
I got into radio because I like to make shows. Some are one hour, some are 24 hours. I want to see the phones light up, the crowds appear at promotions, the letters pour in for contests, the email boxes hit quadruple digits, the shares go up on the ratings reports. Mostly, I want to see the kids dance. I know how to do that. I know how to make the kids dance.
But I’m also a liar. For the past decade or so I’ve said that I’m a businessman, a marketer, a content creator. I’ve said I want to build market share, get along with sales, develop new business and maximize our assets. I’ve said that I want to increase rates of return, return on investment, value to shareholders, stickiness, and long term upside. But none of that is true.
Today, station owners are puzzled. Where are the kids? Where are the young men? Why does satellite radio have so much buzz? iPods? Why are all the smart grads going into TV and avoiding radio? Where are the young women? Why is radio perceived as an archaic medium? I think it’s because they forgot that first you’ve got to make the kids dance. Kids of all ages.
I’m a creative, radio programmer. I know how to make the kids dance. Let me fill the dance hall for you, the best show wins and the best show can’t be beat regardless of the stage.
You go figure out how to increase those rates of return. Let the salesmen collect the tickets from the long line I’ll bring to the gate, but please keep them off the dance floor.
Walter Sabo Sabo Media. 551 Fifth Avenue, New York, 10176 212 681 8181 Office 212 681 8800 fax