This morning Tom Taylor wrote about Cumulus CEO Mary Berner’s new plan to increase revenue at the company.
Introducing new wolf mascot Sulumuc (Cumulus turned around), Berner’s Be A Leader campaign gives monthly and year-end prizes to all employees and not just salespeople who generate sales leads. The top ten performers get “Unique Experiences”, $1000 cash, and other prizes, while the top market for the quarter receives possession of the “Sulu” stuffed wolf mascot for “bragging rights”. The vimeo hosted video has since been made private after leaking to Taylor and AllAccess.com.
This leads to a simple question. What will generate more revenue, having sales leads or having content that makes people want to advertise on your stations?
Berner admitted in the video that Cumulus underperformed in 2016 compared to other radio companies and missed their budget for the year. The company is once again on the verge of filing for bankruptcy protection.
Is the company better off asking all of its employees to basically play the type of contests chain restaurants ask their waiters and waitresses to do to sell extra hamburgers or side salads to increase net revenue for a shift? Or let professional salespeople sell quality products by giving these salespeople products that are worth buying.
Cumulus’ top station is ranked 17th overall in the New York market, 19th in Los Angeles, 13th in Chicago, 8th in San Francisco, 10th in Dallas, and 7th in its home market of Atlanta. If you’re not going to compete at the upper-echelon of programming how do you expect to win the revenue battle? It may be a chicken vs. egg situation as Cumulus’ rapid staff turnover over the past few years may have left them with weaker sales people that couldn’t even sell the best possible product anymore compared to other radio groups, but having lesser performing content on top of it isn’t going to help matters.
Let the programming people program and produce better radio or make them sell on top of their lesser content. What do you think will work best?