Some Things Are Obvious, Obviously

(By Bob McCurdy) A good friend, Don Jacobs, who oversees Townsquare’s Sioux Falls cluster, recommended a book titled Obvious Adams, written about an ad man who continually gets promoted by acting on “the obvious.” It is available on Amazon for $6.95.

My initial thinking was how good could a book that cost six bucks be, and when it arrived it was so unimpressive in both length and appearance my first inclination was to just toss it aside unread. But there was something about the word “obvious” in its title that kept resonating, so a couple of days later I picked it up and read it in about 30 minutes — it’s only 42 pages.

I have read hundreds of business books over the years but this one was surprisingly thought provoking in its simplicity.

While driving from Tampa to Ft. Myers earlier this week, the book and the word “obvious” came to mind again after listening to Jim Croce sing about the “obvious” in that you don’t:

Tug on superman’s cape
Spit into the wind
Pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger
And you don’t mess around with Jim

When the song was over I began to think about what was “obvious” about sales and revenue in our industry and the “obvious” actions required to continue to prosper. I came up with a baker’s dozen. I’m sure you can easily come up with more. I only focused on sales. There surely are an equal number of “obvious” issues and “obvious” solutions pertaining to programming.

It’s obvious that:

– The sophistication required to succeed in sales will only increase.

– Digital is not going away and will only become more important.

– Long term we need to become more of a digital company than a radio company.

– If we don’t acquire new skills and change, flat revenue could be known as the “good old days.”

– The importance of providing compelling cross-platform marketing solutions is now table stakes.

– Like it or not, data and analytics will continue to grow in importance. The data genie is not going back into its bottle.

– There will be more audio competition, not less, in the months and years to come.

– Competition for the local ad dollar is going to increase, as will the number of media vendors vying for local advertiser’s time and attention.

– Double-digit revenue increases are not on the horizon any time soon.

– Business development will only increase in importance.

– The equation: more time selling = more $$ generated, will not change.

– Simply competing against other radio broadcasters will not increase industry revenue.

– In this era of collective ADD, 60-second commercials are simply too long. The migration to shorter-length commercial messaging would benefit both advertiser and station.

Once we identify the “obvious” challenges, the actions to address them become “obvious,” not any easier, but more manageable. It’s obvious that we need to:

– Embrace digital, data, and biz dev with a vengeance.

– Recognize that our local sales success will increasingly depend upon our cross-platform solutions.

– Begin to think and act more like marketers with the goal of becoming our client’s sustaining marketing resource.

– Identify a way to spend more time outside the office in front of clients. The “absent” are usually forgotten and rarely sought.

– Remain learners. There are “know it alls” and “learn it alls.” We need to be the latter.

The “obvious” is often extremely difficult to resolve and execute, but how we react and address the “obvious” will determine the brightness of our future.

While at times the sheer magnitude of what’s “obvious” and its difficulty might appear to be overwhelming, once compartmentalized it becomes infinitely manageable. While it made sound trite and overly simplified, if we all commit to execute and perfect the “obvious,” the best revenue days are ahead of us. That much is obvious.

Bob McCurdy is The Vice President of Sales for the Beasley Media Group and can be reached at


This blog was previously featured in Radio Ink.

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