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Overlooked Revenue Sources - Jay Mitchell, SMRN

    • 1367 posts
    August 1, 2020 2:31 PM PDT

    From our friend Jay Mitchell, editor & publisher of The Small Market Radio Newsletter, from the 07/23/20 edition:

    Overlooked Revenue Sources

    Let’s face it, we’ve all been reduced in some measure to checking our couches for loose change, as the uncertainty of the global pandemic continues. Herewith, some ideas to help you pick up some of that loose change.

    I was reminded by a station in West Palm Beach, Florida, WRMF, that we can leverage loyalty to our radio station into a profit center by doubling down on station merchandise.

    If you’re like most of us, you might have a smattering of T-shirts that you give away at remotes, and coffee mugs that you give to clients, and that’s about it. But you could do a lot more, and create a nice, if not overwhelming, revenue stream out of the deal.

    When it comes to selling station merch, there are three levels:

    1. At the most basic level, you simply sell the T-shirts, mugs, keychains—the usual stuff—that you already have lying around. Usually this is basic “logo ware,” where the artwork is the logo and nothing else.

    2. At the next level, you create uniqueness and value by bundling items into a package of some sort. Right now, for example, you could be selling a “Pandemic Rescue Kit,” consisting of branded facemasks, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, a small first aid kit, etc. not only does the package become more relevant, but your yield per sale will be higher because each sale contains multiple items.

    3. The third level is kind of the second level on steroids. Logo wear is fine, but an item will have much more value if it is associated with an event or milestone. If you have recently held any kind of event—wait a minute, nobody’s holding any kind of event right now, but perhaps you have something in the recent past, like a concert or a live broadcast from somewhere—print up a commemorative T-shirt. That gives the piece more value than your logo alone.

    As for selling the stuff, make it easy on yourself and set up a store on your website and then promote it like crazy on the radio. All of the sales transactions take place in your store, and all you have to worry about is fulfillment. If you get serious about this, you can make some serious walking-around money. 

    Beating the Paper at Its Own Game

    It’s no secret that most newspapers make most of their money from their classifieds. As more and more local papers reduce the number of printed editions they put out every week, and move a lot of their operations online, this presents a great opportunity for you: put your own classifieds system on your website. There are many such modules available to you, and setup is not that hard. Best of all, the entire system can be made self-administering, including payments, so all you have to do is moderate the ads to prevent inappropriate items.

    Changing the Sports Game

    Even with restrictions being lifted in some parts of the country, there is a built-up desire for sports that limited, on-again-off-again schedules and fanless stands are not fulfilling. Before the pandemic, many radio stations would offer recordings of their play-by-play broadcasts in two tiers: the most recent games would be available for free, but anything older than that would cost a nominal amount of money. You probably don’t have any recent games to speak of, but you can broadcast “classic” games from your archives, and promote the fact that those games are available for sale.

    How Not to Follow the Newspaper’s Example

    Local newspapers have been attempting to follow the example of the big boys, like the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and other national and major-market papers, by insisting on a paid subscription to access content. Don’t even think about it.


    This post was edited by Rebecca Hunt at August 1, 2020 2:34 PM PDT