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#1
Old 10-02-2012, 12:55 PM
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How much do radio sales jobs suck?

I periodically muse about completely jumping careers, and today's focus is radio sales.

I'm sure it can be a lucrative career, but I gather that it can also be a pretty cut-throat and a quick dead-end. For example, personalities on a couple stations I listen to frequently bag on the sales department, their high turnover, and the fact that the wring all they can get out of a poor new account executive and then boot them to the curb.

I don't have any explicit sales experience, but quite a bit of what I currently do would trasnfer directly to a sales environment.

Talk me in to or out of sprucing up my resume this weekend.
#2
Old 10-03-2012, 04:48 PM
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A big red flag is that radio stations always seem to be advertizing for sales people. If the job doesn't suck major donkey balls, then why is it so hard to keep that position filled?

Ditto for any jobs that are advertized by e-mail spam. If that job was really so great, they wouldn't need to resort to mass-mailings to fill it.
#3
Old 10-03-2012, 06:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diceman View Post
A big red flag is that radio stations always seem to be advertizing for sales people. If the job doesn't suck major donkey balls, then why is it so hard to keep that position filled?
.
Well, if the position is open, then they are probably not filling up the commercial breaks, so advertising for a salesman doesn't carry any opportunity cost.

Anyone else have a mental image of Herb Tarlich of WKRP?
#4
Old 10-03-2012, 07:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevbo View Post
Well, if the position is open, then they are probably not filling up the commercial breaks, so advertising for a salesman doesn't carry any opportunity cost.

Anyone else have a mental image of Herb Tarlich of WKRP?
No, but Herb Tarlek comes to mind.
#5
Old 10-03-2012, 08:50 PM
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MsRobyn is our current expert on radio, but I can share some experiences from my distant past.

The junior salesperson in any organization is always a butt-monkey. Every time the sales staff changes, the current staff picks over all the accounts and the new person gets the sucky leftovers.

Radio sales is pretty much just one step up from going door-to-door. Who are the current advertisers on the stations you listen to? Those are the kinds of places you'll be going to, every day, in competition with every other radio station, television station, cable operator, newspaper and direct mail organization in town.

Your station has a "rate card" or price list with a bewildering variety of contract terms depending on length of commercials, dates, time of day and many other factors. Ignore them all, because almost every contract is individually negotiated. And in every negotiation your client will threaten to sign with all those other radio stations, newspapers, etc. unless you cut your price.

You'll be working on commission. Not only that, but most companies have a quota. So if you don't succeed you not only won't get paid, but you won't get paid and then get fired. That's why radio stations are always advertising for new staff. There's always the chance that someone new will do better than the people they already have.

As you've noticed, you won't get a lot of support from the on-air staff. At best, you're a necessary nuisance. And if you intercede for a client who wants something (tickets to a concert, meet a favorite air personality, whatever) you're an annoying pest.

In other words, it's a sales job, and not particularly better or worse than other sales jobs.
#6
Old 10-03-2012, 08:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leaffan View Post
No, but Herb Tarlek comes to mind.
Jennifer Marlowe comes to mind.
#7
Old 10-03-2012, 09:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevbo View Post
Well, if the position is open, then they are probably not filling up the commercial breaks, so advertising for a salesman doesn't carry any opportunity cost.
But on the other hand, it's screaming to the advertisers that they can push for lower rates, at least it would seem to me. Like all those "GOTCHA YA!" advertisements on billboards, they might make a good impression the first time or two you seem them, but if I were an advertisers I'd think "hmmm, if billboards are so great, then why is this one so conspicuously empty?"
#8
Old 10-03-2012, 09:09 PM
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I never hear ads on the radio for their advertising, something like "you're hearing this now and so are your future customers". If you do get the radio sales job, buy yourself an ad advertising the radio advertising. I see them self advertising ads all the time on TV, in the newspaper, and on billboards.
#9
Old 10-03-2012, 09:12 PM
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Bailey Quarters also comes to mind
#10
Old 10-03-2012, 09:54 PM
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Bailey Quarters also comes to, comes to, COMES TO, .........Agh never mind........
#11
Old 10-04-2012, 08:35 AM
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Was Bailey in sales? I thought she was news.

Anyway, years ago my wife was in radio sales. She didn't have much experience, but was cute and eager. What kunilou says is pretty much accurate. When you start out, you have to do a lot of cold calling, and it can suck the life out of you. You will have quotas you need to meet, and those will constantly be raised. If you stick around for a while and prove yourself, you will start to be given accounts as other salespeople leave/get fired. The hours can be erratic, as you have to meet the needs of the client, and often you're expected to attend whatever promotions you helped setup.
She did it for a couple years and it was a soulcrushing job. Since we covered the negatives, here are some positives. All of these depend upon the market and the type of station (e.g. probably no concert freebies from a news station).
>If you're good at it, you can make money. She did work with some Tarlek types who lived for sales and made some decent commissions. These were thick skinned people who were not bothered by rejection/contempt.
>You spend a lot of your time out of the office, driving around, visiting businesses, which is a plus for some people.
>You sometimes have access to trade accounts (like a restaurant that trades meals for advertising).
>You may get access to clubs, concerts and other events, plus you might get to know club owners and concert promoters.
>Occassionally you get to be creative and help come up with commercial and promotion ideas.
>Although salespeople are generally considered a nuisance, my wife made friends with a lot of the on air staff who hooked her up with tickets, swag, cds, etc.
>As silly as it sounds, working for the right station has a certain "cool" factor to it, even if it's just sales.
>My wife met a few celebrities who cam in for interviews (Scott Thompson from Kids in the Hall comes to mind).

Keep in mind, these things are mostly the exception. Let us know how your adventure turns out.
#12
Old 10-05-2012, 10:13 AM
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Well, if I didn't have another mouth to feed I think I'd give it a shot. I have a feeling it's something I could excel at, but stability counts for a lot right now.

In another month or two I'll find something else I want to do when I grow up, and we can do this all again!
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