R.A.P.: Judging from the literature you sent, The Radio Store sounds like quite a comprehensive enterprise. Was it something smaller than this in the beginning?
Maureen: Yes, it really was. The objective of the Radio Store at the outset was to provide better quality radio creative to advertisers using the radio medium and to encourage more people to include radio as a primary advertising medium and not just as a secondary addition to a media buy. I had a feeling when I started the company that there would be many more opportunities in the radio arena than strictly doing media buying and creative for clients, and that certainly ended up to be the case.
As the company grew--with my contacts in the industry and the reputation the people at The Radio Store had as being people who really understood radio--we got involved in some other areas, particularly syndicated programming. This is one area we got into that we really didn't intend to at the outset. But we were approached by some people who are real leaders in the field, from a talent point of view, who produce syndicated shows. They wanted someone to represent them in the areas of developing a network for their shows and also in representing the shows to advertisers and exposing the advertisers to a different way to buy radio. So that was another development in the growth of The Radio Store that came along and wasn't necessarily something we had planned on.
In the long-range plans for The Radio Store, we had intended to offer training to radio writers and producers at some future point, and, once again, the opportunity presented itself much earlier than we had anticipated. So a workshop for radio writers and producers has been developed, much earlier than we thought it would be. It was developed and marketed in response to two directives, actually, one from the Radio Marketing Bureau which is similar to the RAB in the United States and, also, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters. Both of those bodies have indicated in their 1996 objectives to provide annual training for radio writers and producers. While that's admirable, there really wasn't anyone available or qualified to provide that kind of training other than the people at The Radio Store. And having done that type of training before and having been involved in managing creative and production people for many years, I just felt the timing was right. As a result, we've added the training to the mix of products that The Radio Store offers.
R.A.P.: So, in the beginning, The Radio Store was primarily an ad agency for radio.
R.A.P.: Was it just you or did you have a partner or two?
Maureen: It started out with me as the Founder and the President of The Radio Store and Drew Allen who was the Director of Client Services. Mr. Allen has about fifteen years experience in selling radio and working at the number one station in Canada, and he was brought in to help with the sales efforts of the company. So it really started out with two people.
Over the year, we have added the people we work with primarily on a free-lance basis. If we need extra assistance with a media buy, we have a media buyer who we consult on a free-lance basis and, of course, our production talent and additional writing and so on is on a free-lance basis.
R.A.P.: Did you, like most people who break away from radio, start with a client base that you had already developed a relationship with through the station?
Maureen: Yes. I had a base of free-lance clients I had worked with for many years at the radio station level, and they liked the work I was doing for them. Basically, they were the foundation for The Radio Store. I've been doing creative work for over ten years for many of these clients. I still do work for them, and we've expanded our base of clients in the last year or so.
R.A.P.: Regarding those initial clients, I assume you were getting a talent fee or creative fee for your services. Are you now also the buyer for these clients and receiving an agency commission as well?
Maureen: The clients I had as creative clients still remain as creative clients. A lot of them are big national advertisers who do their buying in-house or have a buying house that executes the media on their behalf. However, I am now buying for some of the clients I have developed since The Radio Store started.
R.A.P.: Let's talk about the workshops for writers and producers. Have you had one yet?
Maureen: The first one is scheduled for mid-January. This one will be in London, Ontario, which is about two hours to the southwest of Toronto, and it will be with all the stations in the London market.