Carving Out National Dollars for Small Market Broadcasters

If your trading area is outside of Nielsen’s 248 rated audio metros, we call your market non-metro. Agencies typically categorize your market as rural, small market, unmeasured or sub-market. No matter what it’s called, the agency buying and selling is different than for rated MSAs.

In a prior article, we defined national sales revenue and why you need a rep to get it. But now what? You get a rep, and the orders just start flowing? Not always! Especially if you are in a smaller market not rated by Nielsen. For broadcasters in non-metro, micropolitan areas, getting national brands and agencies’ attention is difficult. Why?

If your trading area is outside of Nielsen’s 248 rated audio metros, we call your market non-metro. Agencies typically categorize your market as rural, small market, unmeasured or sub-market. No matter what it’s called, the agency buying and selling is different than for rated MSAs.

National agency buyers and planners are used to standard metrics and data sets to justify their campaigns and media choices.  Many of these audience measurement tools are simply not available in small markets. Additionally, many believe if they buy every Nielsen rated metro or a “national” radio network, they will get full and complete coverage of the country.

The lack of supporting data in small markets and the misperception of metro radio coverage are some of our biggest challenges.  We work every day to shine a light on the value of your small markets so more brands and advertisers will “turn on the radio”. Here are some of the ways we do just that:

  • Digging out “beyond the metro” opportunities through metro only RFPs
  • Direct to brand marketing and development to known network radio advertisers, highlighting where they may be missing coverage
  • Marketing your market with GMP’s small market secret sauce podcast
  • High level agency pitches using our “The Power of Small Market Radio” and “Why Radio” research to spotlight the power of radio to influence and motivate consumers and position local radio’s attributes against Pandora/ Spotify, wired network/barter
  • ‘Agency teams’ across the country that maintain relationships with regional accounts and keep abreast of activity and developments in key shops with multiple regional offices
  • Keeping up with accounts on the move, category trends, emerging categories, new products and services and grand openings
  • Investing in tools and resources that help us uncover and qualify prospective leads
  • Creating new programs like our BOOST research, that help us stay competitive by making small market radio planning and buying easy

But perhaps the most important strategy in creating new national interest is encouraging your local brand contacts to lean on their agencies. Local franchisees, dealerships and even store managers have more influence and power than they sometimes recognize. Our agencies are gatekeepers for their clients, and they are pitched by hundreds of vendors with great ideas. The very best way to cut through the clutter is for your local or regional decision maker to ask for non-metro radio support directly. It typically creates an opportunity for a deeper look, and we are given better access and opportunity as a result.

We are always looking for new ways to promote agency interests and sales for our independent broadcasters in small and medium markets. We believe in local radio, we believe in local broadcasters, we believe in local content, we believe in local connection, and we have the most powerful and viable network of stations to help brands activate their national message in local markets. We are successful because we are passionate about our partners and the research that highlights the value of their listeners and communities.  If we can persuade our agencies while our broadcast partners simultaneously persuade their local contacts, we will meet in the middle to earn new opportunities for us all.

Pic generated by AI for Freepik.com.

Devon Shuman is the SVP, Director of Non-Metro Sales at Gen Media Partners. She has 20 years of national sales experience working with radio groups, agencies and advertisers across the country.

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