R.A.P.: How have the other agencies in town accepted you as a "radio only" agency? Have you had any kind of confrontation with other full blown agencies questioning your calling yourself an agency when you only handle radio?
Frank: No, not at all. Occasionally in Aspen, they'd go, "Oh, you're an agency now?" or something like that. But it doesn't matter what you call yourself, it's whether or not you can get the work done and do the best job at the best price. So if there has been any of that, I can't remember it.
R.A.P.: Where do you feel your creative talents lie?
Frank: I'd say with the writing. If I went to work at a radio station, I'd be working more closely with the sales department than with the programming department and all their sweepers, promos, hot edits and so on. That's not necessarily my thing. While that's fun to do, and I have a lot of respect for those guys that do those incredible promos and sweepers that you hear on the air, the thing that really gets me going is writing copy for commercials -- clever copy, clever dialogue, using sound effects to put that 30 or 60 second movie together. That's what gets me going.
R.A.P.: What do you do for voices now that you don't have a lot of jocks hanging around?
Frank: I do a lot of them myself. Plus, down here you have a hundred jocks. I've already contacted a couple of the air personalities around here, both male and female. There's a real good talent bank in the area.
R.A.P.: You do place the buys for your clients, right?
R.A.P.: Radio rates in Boulder are much higher than they are in Aspen, so is it safe to assume that your income, based on a 15% of the buy, will increase considerably simply because of the move to Boulder?
Frank: Yes, but right now most of the business I'm doing is in Aspen. I'm still new down here, so I'm just beginning to pick up new business in the area.
R.A.P.: How do you get ratings reports and research information for the market, things you need to help you place the buys?
Frank: I can get any information I need right from the radio stations. They're more than happy to show you the Arbitrons. Plus, if you've worked in a market, you know what's going on. You know what stations are being listened to and what their audiences are like. The key now is not so much the demographics as much as it is the psychographic makeup of the audience. Any station that is worth its salt, now also has all kinds of psychographic data to share with you. They've got all the info. All you've got to do is pick up the phone and they'll fax it to you.
R.A.P.: When pitching clients on your service, are you pitching campaigns or single spots for a weekend sale or some other one shot deal?
Frank: A little of both. With the Boulder people, I've been trying to sell more campaigns, especially when I go see a new prospect. They shouldn't go on just for the weekend. That's not how radio works best for the client. I'll go in there with an idea or a campaign that can be taken over several months. That shows them that you want to work with them on a long term basis, and that you're not there just for the quick weekend sale. Although, you can't turn down that business either.
R.A.P.: What major obstacles have you encountered in this new business?
Frank: When I started this thing, I knew that I could write good copy, I knew I had a good voice, and I knew I could do nice production. The first thing I had to face when I started really going on my own was that I knew nothing about sales. That was a real shocker. I guess for the first six months I went through a period where I could not get any new business. I was pitching a lot of business, and a lot of my problem was competition from other agencies. I would go in and tell them that I just do radio and to use these other guys for their print or whatever. It wasn't that these other agencies were going in with a bigger total campaign, although that sometimes was the case, but I couldn't get the account and I knew that my creative was much better. I'd hear their spots on the air, and it was just the worst stuff. Anyhow, I just kept losing the business.
So, I finally sat down with a friend of mine, a very successful, older gentleman who made his fortune in sales, and I said to this man, "David, I'm out-creating these guys by a wide margin and I can't get the business! What the hell's wrong with me?" And he said, "Hey, they're not out-creating you, they're out-selling you. You'd better learn how to sell." He said, "Nothing happens as far as your production company goes until you make a sale." Sales is really the key to this whole operation. Until you can start selling people on the idea that you can produce their radio commercials, you won't produce any commercials because nobody wants to buy them. Sure, I've got a great voice and can produce great spots, but how can I convince other people I can do that? Well, I'll play them the spot, I figure. How do I get in the door? Well, I don't know. How do I close the sale? I don't know.
So I started studying and learning about sales: How to make cold calls; How to call up people just to develop prospect lists, whether it be names out of newspapers, television, or listening to commercials on the radio; literally making dozens of cold calls and trying to get the appointments. Then I'd go in, meet with them on a first time basis, not trying to sell them the first time out, but just getting the opportunity to create some spots for them and go back later.
R.A.P.: You mentioned bringing some people on staff. Would they be for sales?
Frank: YES!! As much as I've been studying and as much as I've been at it, I'm thinking that what I know best is production and the business end of it. In fact, today I'll be calling some of the Denver papers and placing some ads for sales people with broadcast backgrounds and see what happens. I'm going to get somebody on the street full-time whose knows sales and whose livelihood totally depends on that. There's an interesting thing about sales: The theory is that you're either good at selling tangible products or intangible products. Naturally, radio production and advertising is intangible, and when you're out of your element you have a struggle. I've tried to do everything, and I realize that I'm not very good at sales, not as good as I'd like to be. I'm not as good as I need to be. So, I'm going to try and find somebody that is and pay them a 20% commission or 25% if that's what it takes to bring in the business.