Forums » Friday Polls

Friday Poll: How Do You Announce Rate Increases?

    • 1228 posts
    March 8, 2018 9:42 PM PST

    Happy Friday, everyone!

    This week's poll question comes from Lisa K:

    She writes, "Considering a rate increase for a certain class of clients. How have you announced rate increases? Have you successfully done it with some and not others? I do not plan to change anyone mid-contract, only new contracts. Thanks!"

    Looking forward to reading your replies!

    This post was edited by Rebecca Hunt at March 9, 2018 6:39 AM PST
  • March 9, 2018 6:59 AM PST

    You don't announce it.  Have you ever had an advertiser announce their new higher prices?

    On all your agreements, say "Subject to normal station rate adjustments after initial term."

    They get the rate for the initial term they invest at, whether 6 months or 6 years...


    • 1228 posts
    March 9, 2018 12:25 PM PST

    From Robert E. Lee on the RSC Facebook page: The obvious answer is that it depends on the client. If that client understands the power and effectiveness of radio advertising, then, one, you might choose not to raise their rates, if they do a lot of advertising with your station(s), and, two, such a client would also understand if they did have to pay a small rate increase -- emphasis on 'small', in their case. All things considered, radio broadcasting companies face 'cost of doing business' increases, too, and clients should appreciate that...

    • 60 posts
    March 9, 2018 1:05 PM PST

    I announce rate increases at contract renewals and whether that rate per unit actually changes depends on the variables of if the client has been on the station consistently, the amount they spend and what part of the advertising budget I have. Although we maintain rate integrity, the added extras we offer the long termers can get the rate per impression down to the prior rate. I find most 'regulars' expect increases from time to time and I always explain the increase as 'supply and demand' noting we have a limit on how much advertising we will run. 

    At one small town station clients were all too willing to sign an "Until Further Notice" contract. They were not keen on annuals. For a good 85%, they considered their schedule with us a fixed monthly expense. In my years there, I had advertisers that were on for a few years buying the same monthly schedule, adding spots for special events. We stated the rate didn't increase unless they stopped. That was usually enough incentive to keep them going, knowing if they drop, the rate goes up.

    • 79 posts
    March 9, 2018 1:34 PM PST

    Depends.... like everyone else says.


    I have some that are below rate card that need to be increased and we do it on a gradual process.   But our rates are pretty steady. 

    We honor rates for the length of the signed agreement.  Normal rates for a 60 are $100.  Using that number I am pretty safe for quite a few years.

    • 11 posts
    March 9, 2018 2:08 PM PST

    Depends on the client.   If you have a client that is very happy with the business that your station is bringing,  it's pretty easy to bump them up 5% or what ever the cost of inflation is.

    If I'm not feeling all that confident about the client,   I will still try to move the rate up ever so slightly.    Even if it's just $10 or $20 dollars a month.   And mention it casually "by the way - the cost went up 10 bucks a month;  it's the first time we've moved your rate in _ years or _3 years etc.      Everyone is aware that salaries go up and prices go up.    So do our costs when it comes to running a business.

    Finally,   sometimes at renewal time I will give a client a couple different proposal options,  and try to move them to a different package at a better time slot that comes with a slightly higher cost per spot.    Sometimes a different sponsorship that comes with a higher cost per spot is the easiest way to move their rate up.   

    • 1021 posts
    March 9, 2018 4:37 PM PST

    Sales trainer Jim Williams was never diffident about rate increases.

    He recommended them quarterly.

    Here, in less than two minutes and in his own words, is his reasoning on the only justification for a rate increase.

    • 82 posts
    March 10, 2018 4:47 AM PST

    We have different perspective on this. Every agreement we do is set to run as long as the client stays on (some for the whole 8 years we've been here now)

    When you sign up... that's YOUR RATE until you quit. If you never quit... congrats (to both of us)

    We raise rates almost every year.... but only for NEW clients. We have even run a radio campaign (a few years ago) celebrating our 5th full year... announced that we would be bumping our rates up a little and told people that "if you want to sign up BEFORE the increase... reach out... we will set up a time to asses your needs to see if we can help" It was cool how many NON-CLIENTS reached out to see if we could help. Some even became clients!

    I know we're weird.... but I'm OK with that. We post our rates right on our website (not normal) and we focus on working with one client per category (meaning if I'm working with YOU... I'm not calling your competitor too)

    John Small -

    This post was edited by Big John Small at March 10, 2018 4:48 AM PST
    • 79 posts
    March 10, 2018 7:20 AM PST

     Jim Williams advice is SPOT ON.  Our rate card is always based on inventory.  Every week or two, the rate card is updated based on what we have available.

    • 1021 posts
    March 13, 2018 10:01 AM PDT


    Hotels, airlines, and more than a few radio stations operate on the basis of yield management, based strictly on supply and demand, which in turn is a pretty accurate measure of sales ability. Chris Rolando swears by it.

    Interestingly, Jim Williams' idea of the perfect rate card was based on standard newspaper practice. At the time, newspaper was the 800-pound media gorilla and Jim encouraged his pupils to sell like the newspaper. Instead of offering space by the column inch, the station would offer time by the 5-second unit. Thus, a 30-second ad would use 6 units of airtime. Clients were given the opportunity to purchase their airtime in bulk, just as newspaper advertisers purchase space in bulk.

    Here's a snapshot of his Universal Rate Card, published in his typical "tacky handwriting."


    • 79 posts
    March 13, 2018 2:03 PM PDT

    Yes, our local newspaper used to publish their rate card online and the problem was they wouldn't follow it.  It was set high so their salespeople could "cut a deal" and it lost all integrity.   I used to be able to get reports from the RAB of reach & frequency; cost and circulation #'s for our local paper and it was a sad story for the paper as it showed an increase in price and decrease in circulation every time.