For this sales profile we head way out west to 95.7 The Game in San Francisco, which has been in the sports format since 2011. Janet Rogers has sold a lot of radio in her day, both in English and Spanish, but this was her first foray into the sports format. As you’ll learn, it doesn’t seem to matter which format she is in, the common denominator has been success.
DG: How did you get started in radio?
JR: I met the Public Affairs director for KCBS Radio way back in the day in the early ‘80s. I met her at an event and she said I should apply for a job at KCBS because I’ve always loved radio. I applied for a receptionist job and the interviewer said, “You don’t want a receptionist job, you would never stay in that job!” Fortunately, about six months later, I got a call from the CBS National Rep Office and Rocky Cosgrove who ran the FM National Sales Office. It was a two-person office and Rocky taught me all about radio and radio sales, how to put a program together and how to conceptualize an idea and sell it.
I then got a job inside CBS at a classic rock station and then was recruited to work for KBLX radio where I spent nine years working with Barry Rose and Harvey Stone, two legendary names in the San Francisco market and ended up being Retail Sales Manager. Then, I was recruited to be a Regional Sales Manager working for a group of stations that covered the San Jose area. At one point, I worked for five owners in one year, going through a lot of changes during consolidation. I worked in Spanish radio for a little bit and then came back to general market. It’s been a long and interesting ride, selling a lot of different formats. I feel very fortunate to have started my career in radio when I did and worked in radio when I did and its led to, coincidentally, working with the CBS stations again because of the merger with Entercom.
DG: When you first started, do you remember how long it took you to really feel comfortable?
JR: It probably took me a good six months. I had to get over the sheer terror of picking up the phone and calling to talk to someone, that was not natural for me. I had to understand how to find a good, qualified prospect and that takes some time. I won a new business selling contest at the end of my first year of selling. I did that because I had done a lot of prospecting and was able to close some business that had never been on the station before and some that had never been in radio before. After six months I really started to feel like I had something to really offer the customer.
DG: Do you do things today to continue to make yourself better?
JR: I feel like I really do. One of my former sales managers taught me a long time to ask yourself, “What did you do right and what would you do different next time?” That is something that always stuck with me. I love that, and I still use it to this day. I had to learn how to sell sports when I started here, because I had never sold sports before. There are things that I’m still learning from veteran sellers that have sold sports their entire careers such as the types of targeting you can do and the types of programming and integration you can do. So, asking myself those questions, associating with people that are successful and bring new ideas to the table help make me better. I am a big believer that you can teach old dogs new tricks as long as the old dog wants to learn the tricks!
DG: What makes you good at what you do?
JR: I am a great listener, I ask great questions and I really work at developing relationships. People can buy from anyone and the differentiations can be so small. I truly believe that at some level they are really buying the trust and faith and relationship they have with me. I’ve had some customers for a very long time and I truly get a kick out of having success for the customer, that gives me a great deal of job satisfaction and joy. The ability to look someone in the eye and really feel like we’ve done a good job for them.
DG: Do you think having support from programming is more important when selling sports versus another format?
JR: Absolutely, because of the ability of product integration. It’s so much more robust than music stations. The ideas can just flow. It’s so important to have those relationships, not just so you can get things done, but also to tap in to that creativity of your co-workers and people from other departments. I am super fortunate that I work for a General Sales Manager who is very creative and has great ideas. We have a new program director that has a willingness to partner with sales and understands that it’s all a circle – if sales is happy, programming is happy and if programming is happy, sales is happy. I think its hugely important in sports and when it works it’s such a great tool.
DG: What is the main difference in selling play-by-play versus regular programming?
JR: With play-by-play, you find the fan! Finding that fan and allowing them to peek behind the curtain and the opportunity to bring their business and co brand and partner with one of their favorite teams or players – that is really fun and can be very productive.
DG: What’s the main reason you’ve noticed of why new sellers don’t work out in our industry?
JR: I don’t know if there is any one reason, but a lot of it is not having the understanding of how hard it is to do this, especially the first couple of years. Also, you have to have a strong manager that is willing to roll up their sleeves and get in the trenches and guide you to help with ideas, overcome objections and close business. I have been really lucky that I have had some great managers. Also, it’s having co-workers that are willing to share their experiences and pay it forward the way they were mentored and molded. If you don’t have that supportive work environment and some place to come back to and be able to ask questions and get help, it is really challenging to do this.
DG: What piece of advice would you give to new sellers in sports media?
JR: To understand the passion that drives your listeners, so you can connect with that – the personalities, the partner teams – and to understand and tap in to that passion so you understand why people are listening and then formulate your strategy around that. You really have to understand your product and be an evangelist for the product. Be passionate – that authenticity really comes through to people. They can feel that when you are passionate and believe in it.
DG: Your manager told me that you are great at finding what keeps business owners up at night. How would you advise others to be good at that?
JR: I think it goes back to what I said I was good at – listening. I can really shut up and listen to what is being said and then ask good follow up questions. You can’t stop, you have to keep digging one level deeper as you build that relationship. When I go to a new business meeting, I start very broad and then let the conversation dictate where it goes. Just keep digging and then get the consensus and ask if you heard what they said correctly so they agree that it is a problem and now you come up with the solution.
DG: I was told you are the station’s top biller, so what continues to drive you?
JR: My credibility and my ability to help and to be a team leader, that is my biggest driver. Sometimes that comes with being the top biller, but let’s face it you have to be somewhere near the top to be a leader. The most important thing for me is to feel like I have the respect of my teammates and that they feel like they can learn things from me and I can offer knowledge and experience.
DG: How do you feel about the state of our industry?
JR: On the product side, for those companies that believe in live and local – I say keep going. The word relevant is so meaningful – you have to be relevant in people’s lives and just because the vehicle has been around a long time, doesn’t mean the content is still relevant. The companies that aren’t doing live and local, I think they are doing a disservice to themselves and most importantly to our industry. From the personnel side, I think their needs to be a much stronger effort to involve younger people in this career. We really have to mentor younger people. It used to be okay to throw the yellow pages at people, and if you’ve been in this business a long time you remember that. People could do that and find new business and afford it and grow and make a living, but I don’t believe that is the case anymore. I think people have to be mentored and trained and given an opportunity to have a stable financial base that allows you to not flip out after three months and wonder if you can afford to stay with this job. I think our industry needs to take a really hard look at that and understand what it costs to do business these days.
What They Say:
Janet is the top biller at the station because she finds ways to build meaningful relationships with the ultimate decision makers. She is relentless in finding out exactly what is keeping that business owner up at night. She uses their managers, spouses or any other source she needs, in order to find information that helps her build a solution for their business. Janet’s success is one of ideas and relationships, and does not rely on audience size. – Jim Richmond, General Sales Manager, Entercom San Francisco.
Keeping Premier League Games Shouldn’t Be A Hard Call For NBC
“Beyond its massive global fanbase, the Premier League offers NBC/Peacock a unique modern 21st-century sport for the short attention span of fans.”
NBC Sports is facing some tough, costly decisions that will define its sports brand for the rest of this decade. A chance to connect with viewers in a changing climate and grow Peacock’s audience as well. However, making the right choice is paramount to not losing to apps like Paramount+ (pun intended).
NBC is currently in the business of negotiating to continue airing the Premier League as their current deal ends after this 2021-2022 season. NASCAR is contracted to NBC (and FOX) through the 2024 season.
NBC’s tentpole sports are the NFL and the Olympics.
Negotiations for the EPL are expected to go down to the wire. Rather than re-up with NBC, the league is meeting with other networks to drive up the price. NBC has to then make a decision if the rights go north of $2 billion.
Should NBC spend that much on a sport that is not played in the United States? It’s not my money, but that sport continues to grow in the US.
If NBC re-ups with the Premier League, will that leave any coins in the cupboard to re-up with NASCAR? Comcast CEO Brian Roberts hinted that there might be some penny pinching as the prices continue to soar. This may have been one of the reasons that NBC did not fight to keep the National Hockey League, whose rights will be with Disney and WarnerMedia through ESPN and TNT, respectively.
“These are really hard calls,” Roberts said. “You don’t always want to prevail, and sometimes you’re right and sometimes you’re wrong, but I think the sustainability of sports is a critical part of what our company does well.”
Roberts was speaking virtually at the recent Goldman Sachs 30th Annual Communacopia Conference. He told the audience that between NBC and European network Sky, that Comcast has allocated approximately $20 billion towards these sports properties.
Comcast CFO Michael Cavanagh spoke virtually at the Bank of America Securities 2021 Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference and echoed that the company is in a good position to make some strong choices in the sports realm.
“The bar is really high for us to pursue outright acquisitions of any material size,” Cavanagh added. “We got a great hand to play with what we have.”
While the European investments involve a partnership with American rival Viacom, the US market seems to have apparent limits.
Last Saturday’s NASCAR Cup Series at Bristol Motor Speedway was seen by around 2.19 million people. It was the most-watched motorsports event of the weekend. That same week eight different Premier League matches saw over 1 million viewers. More than half of those matches were on subscription-based Peacock.
Beyond its massive global fanbase, the Premier League offers NBC/Peacock a unique modern 21st-century sport for the short attention span of fans. A game of typical soccer fan is used to a sport that is less than two hours long. The investment in a team is one or two games a week.
My connection to the Premier League began before the pandemic. When I cut the cord in late 2017, I purchase Apple TV. Setting it up, it asks you to name your favorite teams. After clicking on the Syracuse Orange and the New Jersey Devils, I recalled that my wife has family based in London, England. They are season ticket holders for Arsenal, and that family redefined the word “die-hard” fans.
I’ve long been a believer that sports allegiances are best when handed down by family. I love hearing stories of people loving the New York Giants because their parents liked them, and they pass it down to their children.
I’ve successfully given my allegiance to the Devils to my young daughters.
By telling Apple TV that I liked Arsenal, I get alerts from three different apps when the “Gunners” are playing. The $4.99 is totally worth it to see Arsenal.
Whenever I told this story, I was amazed to see how many other American sports fans had a Premier League team. Students of mine at Seton Hall University rooted for Tottenham Hotspurs, while an old colleague cheers on Chelsea.
This is not meant to say that NBC should sign the EPL on my account. The key for any US-based soccer fan is that between Bundesliga, Serie A, and other leagues, there will be no shortage of soccer available on both linear television and streaming services.
Besides, Dani Rojas did say that “Football is life.” NBC, originator of the Ted Lasso character, should make keeping its Premier League US connection a priority.
Media Noise – Episode 45
Today, Demetri is joined by Tyler McComas and Russ Heltman. Tyler pops on to talk about the big start to the college football season on TV. Russ talks about Barstool’s upfront presentation and how the business community may not see any problems in working with the brand. Plus, Demetri is optimistic about FOX Sports Radio’s new morning show.
6 Ad Categories Hotter Than Gambling For Sports Radio
“Using sports radio as a back page service for gambling will have a limited shelf life.”
For years sports radio stations pushed sports gambling advertisers to early Saturday and Sunday morning. The 1-800 ads, shouting, and false claims were seedy, and some stations wouldn’t even accept the business at 5 am on Sunday.
Now, with all but ten states ready to go all in on sports gambling, sports radio stations can’t get enough of that green. Demetri Ravanos wrote about the money cannon that sports gambling has become for stations. Well, what if you are in one of those ten states where it isn’t likely to ever be legal like California or Texas? Where is your pot of gold?
Or, let’s face it, the more gambling ads you run, the more risk you take on that the ads will not all work as you cannibalize the audience and chase other listeners away who ARE NOT online gambling service users and never will be. So, what about you? Where is your pot of gold?
Well, let’s go Digging for Gold.
The RAB produces the MRI-Simmons Gold Digger PROSPECTING REPORT for several radio formats. In it, they index sports radio listeners’ habits against an average of 18+ Adult. The Gold Digger report looks at areas where the index is higher than the norm – meaning the sports radio audience is more likely to use the product or service than an average 18+ Adult who doesn’t listen to sports radio. The report, generated in 2020, indicates that sports radio listeners are 106% more likely to have used an online gambling site in the last thirty days. That’s impressive because the report only lists 32 activities or purchases a sports radio listener indexes higher than an average adult. I looked at those 32 higher indexes, and I think we can start looking for some gold.
Using sports radio as a back page service for gambling will have a limited shelf life. The gambling companies who commit significant money to get results will continue advertising and chase the others away. So, the future of sports radio needs to include other cash cows.
If it is evident to online sports gambling services that sports radio stations are a must-buy, who else should feel that way? I looked at the Top 32 and eliminated the media companies. ESPN, MLB/NHL/NFL networks, and others aren’t spending cash on sports radio stations they don’t own in general. But Joseph A Bank clothing, Fidelity, and Hotwire should! Here’s your PICK-6 list I pulled together that’s hotter than sports gambling:
- Sportscard collectors, Dapper Labs, Open Sea- read about Sports NFT $.
- Online brokerage firms-Fidelity, Charles Schwab, Robinhood, Webull, TD Ameritrade
- Golf courses, resorts, equipment, etc.- we play golf at home and vacation
- Hotwire.com, Booking.com, TripAdvisor, Airbnb, Carnival Corporation, and Priceline.com- we’ve used Hotwire in the last year.
- FedEx, UPS, U.S. Postal Service, Venmo, PayPal, Zelle-we wired or overnighted $
- Jos. A. Bank, shein.com, macys.com, nordstroms.com- we went to Jos. A. Bank in last three months
The sports card/NFT market is 32% hotter than the sports betting market for sports radio listeners. Everything on the PICK-6 is at least 100% more likely to purchase than an average 18+ Adult who doesn’t listen to sports radio. All listed are at or above indexing strength compared to sports betting. The individual companies I added are industry leaders. Bet on it! Email me for details.
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