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Radio World (January 2013):

Dont U Make These Mistake's
Pro communicators have no excuse for sloppy spelling and bad grammar

Working in radio, a non-visual medium, does not give us license to trash the written English language.

After all, we’re supposed to be professional communicators, right? We radio folks may find it easier to hide our misspellings, grammatical and punctuation errors behind a microphone; but sooner or later they’re bound to be a source of embarrassment.

I was an English major in college, aspiring to be a teacher. I ended up in advertising — go figure.

Mind you, I’m not complaining. Advertising and marketing involve a great deal of reading and writing, consulting and coaching. So it’s not all that far removed from teaching. I just work in a different kind of classroom.

Reason I mention the English major thing is because I’m going to climb up on my soapbox and rant a bit.  Read more. . .

Radio Ink (October 2012):

Paul Harvey, Will Rogers, And Me

ROYWILLIAMS
THE WIZARD OF ADS

It’s unlikely you’ve ever heard of Will Rogers unless you grew up, as I did, in Oklahoma. Will was a famous storyteller, comedic actor, columnist, and radio personality in the 1920s and ’30s. He and Paul Harvey are Oklahoma’s two great claims to fame.

Will was once asked to speak to a business club. “Sure,” he told his host. “When do you need me?”

“Next Tuesday,” was the man’s response.  

“How long do you want me to talk?” asked Rogers.

“About five minutes.”

“Five minutes!” exclaimed Rogers. “It would take me at least two weeks to prepare a five-minute speech!”

Surprised, the man said, “If a five-minute speech takes two weeks, how long would it take you to prepare to speak for an hour?”

Rogers replied, “Hell, I’m ready to speak for an hour right now.”

Long ads push softly. Short ads hit hard. Will Rogers knew it. Paul Harvey knew it. And now you know it, too.

The radio ads of Paul Harvey were the stuff of legend.  They always produced big results. Right now you might be thinking to yourself, “Well, of course they worked!  Everyone always listened whenever Paul Harvey had the mic.” But why did they listen?   Read more. . .

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Press Release (August 2012):

Local Supermarket Wins Marketing Award


MINNEAPOLIS (August 23, 2012) - The Northern and Western region of SUPERVALU, INC (NYSE: SVU) today announced its 2012 Master Marketer winners.

The Master Marketer competition annually rewards SUPERVALU-affiliated grocers in a variety of categories for their advertising initiatives, community programs, in-store promotions and sales events. More than 300 nominations were submitted by retailers in the company’s Northern and Western region, which serves retail locations in Alaska, California, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington, West Virginia, western Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Guam.

DISSMORE’S IGA, Pullman, Washington (store owners, Archie McGregor III and Brian McGregor) had two of the three finalists in the Radio Spots category (stores larger than 30,000 square feet), with commercials for their Deli and Bakery departments. The Bakery spot was chosen as the overall winner in its category. Both commercials were written and produced by Rod Schwartz of FirstStrike Advertising for Pullman radio stations KQQQ NewsTalk 1150 and HitRadio 104.3. According to Dissmore’s IGA Store Manager Trev McCuaig, “A big thank you to our Dissmore’s team and to Supervalu! I would also like to thank all our customers that shop Dissmore’s for their business. And thank you to Rod Schwartz for his professionalism and witty way of making radio advertising fun for us here at Dissmore’s.” Read more. . .

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Radio World (May 2012):

Schwartz, Upbeat About Radio Sales

Scoffs at Claims that Radio as We Know It Is ‘On Its Way Out’

FROM THE
EDITOR

BY PAUL MCLANE

   Radio Sales Café is celebrating its third anniversary this month. I emailed with Rod Schwartz, its owner and creative director, about the service and issues facing radio salespeople.

   Rod, you launched the website radiosalescafe.com three years ago. Assess its success to date.
  
Radio Sales Café continues to attract new members on a daily basis. To date, more than 2,700 radio advertising sales professionals have become part of this community, exchanging ideas, answering sales questions, sharing their own solutions to challenging sales problems they’ve faced, and just helping one another to become better at what we do.

   What’s the general mood among radio sales folks these days?
   Well, on the basis of what I observe in the exchanges that take place regularly at RSC, I’d have to say that people seem pretty upbeat generally. Even when a discussion centers on a problem someone is facing with a particular client, say, the responses from other members are always helpful and encouraging, which in turn gives the person who came looking for help a renewed optimism and energy to move forward. Sales can be a difficult business at times. The support and encouragement that accompany the practical advice people share with one another tend to foster an esprit d’corps that is most enjoyable and satisfying to witness.
Read more. . .

Copyright 2012 NewBay Media (USA), LLC. Reprinted with permission.

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Radio And Production (February 2012):

Rod Schwartz
Account Executive
KHTR-FM/KQQQ-AM
&
Owner
Grace Broadcast Sales/
Radio Sales Café
Pullman, WA

by Jerry Vigil

Yes, you read his title correctly. Rod Schwartz is an Account Executive, a salesman, being interviewed for a production magazine. But wait… he’s not your ordinary salesman. Rod knows a few things about what we do, too, particularly when it comes to what makes radio advertising work for his clients. And he’s been making those ads work for 33 years at the same stations in the small market of Pullman, Washington. But his story doesn’t stop there. Along the way, Rod established Grace Broadcast Sales, a family run company servicing radio with syndicated “sales booster” programs as well as creative services. And more recently, he launched the fast-growing Radio Sales Café, a social website for radio salespeople. You’ll find some great stories and lots of worthwhile information in this two-part interview. Check this month’s RAP CD for some excellent commercial work from Rod, and don’t miss the rest of the interview in next month’s RAP.

   JV: Tell us about your start in radio.
   Rod:
In January of 1973 I backed into what has become a lifelong career in radio advertising. I answered a classified ad in the newspaper for a sales job at WFMB in Springfield, Illinois, and it was there I think I learned my first conscious lesson about selling, and that was the value of persistence, because at the time, FM was still the weak sister and AM was the powerhouse across the board. FM really didn’t come into its own until sometime later in the ’70s, at least as perceived by advertisers as having value. So we were the country FM.

   Here I was, 20 years old, sporting an afro and wearing my father’s old suit to apply for this job -- I was out of college and things were different in the early ’70s. They politely listened to me, interviewed me, considered my story and told me they’d get back to me. When I hadn’t heard back from them after a few days, I called them and said, “Have you decided what you want to do about me?” They said, “No, we’re still interviewing people and we’ll let you know.” 
Read more. . .

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Radio And Production (March 2012):

Rod Schwartz
Account Executive
KHTR-FM/KQQQ-AM
&
Owner
Grace Broadcast Sales/
Radio Sales Café

Pullman, WA

Part 2
by Jerry Vigil

   We wrap up our interview with Rod this month, and like we said last month, his title above is correct. Rod Schwartz is an Account Executive, a salesman, being interviewed
for a production magazine. But he’s not your ordinary salesman. Rod knows a few things about what we do, too, particularly when it comes to what makes radio advertising work for his clients. And he’s been making those ads work for 33 years at the same stations in the small market of Pullman, Washington. But his story doesn’t stop there. Along the way, Rod established Grace Broadcast Sales, a company servicing radio with syndicated “sales booster” programs as well as creative services. And more recently, he launched the fast-growing Radio Sales Café, a social website for radio salespeople
   You’ll find even more great stories and worthwhile information in the conclusion of this two-part interview. You can check last month’s RAP CD for some excellent commercial work from Rod with extra notes on the spots from Rod on the February CD page at rapmag.com (click on Back Issues).

   JV: When you’re writing a spot, how do you know when the copy is done? When do you stop writing?
   Rod:
Oh, I don’t think I ever stop writing. In fact, I’ve had ads that end up on the air, and then I hear something I don’t like and I’ll go in and I’ll tweak it a little bit then send the replacement over and say, “Overwrite what we’re running now with this.” But there comes a point where, let’s say, you’re 90-some percent convinced that the ad is ready to go, so you pull the trigger and away you go.
 

   JV: Are there some conditions that must be met with each script before you’ll send them out or certain things it must contain?
   Rod:
No. What I’m looking for is an effect. There’s no template that I use
for writing other than recognizing that I have to be able to capture and hold a listener’s fleeting attention, amidst all the distractions of a person’s life, for the duration of that commercial, and hopefully engage the listener to such an extent that he or she will remember that message in a meaningful way. So, what Roy [Williams] calls the “first mental image” or what Chris [Lytle] or maybe Dan O’Day would call the “headline for
the ad,” the opening statement, that’s important.
Read more. . .

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The Small Market Radio Newsletter (May 9, 2011):

20 Years of Service

The year was 1991. A radio seller and sales manager was about to take the leap of faith familiar to all business owners.

For years, Rod Schwartz had been enjoying success selling his clients the services of Jim Shepler’s radio campaigns at Broadcast General Company–first as a salesman in Winona, MN, and then as a sales manager in Pullman, WA. But in 1990, Jim Shepler died, and Broadcast General Company closed its doors.

Rod told Shepler’s heirs that he was interested in continuing the business and ended up acquiring its assets. As a result, Grace Broadcast Sales was born.

Picture of Rod Schwartz

Rod recalls, “For months I’d been pondering whether or not this was something I should do, praying for divine guidance. The answer came, unexpectedly and dramatically, in the form of two cardboard boxes—filled with floppy discs and manila folders
containing Jim Shepler’s scripts, mailing lists, flyers—left on my porch by the UPS deliveryman. No invoice. No correspondence.
Not even a return address! Now you know why the business is called ‘Grace’ Broadcast Sales.”
 
Read more. . .

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The Small Market Radio Newsletter (May 20, 2010):

ONE = 1,200. What began as a novel idea has become a runaway success: Radio Sales Café celebrates its first anniversary with over 1,200 members around the world. Last year, Grace Broadcast Sales, a provider of syndicated radio features, advertising and creative services to radio stations and radio advertisers, launched an onlinePicture of Rebecca Schwartz networking site specifically for radio advertising sales professionals. Today, www.RadioSalesCafe.com boasts members from across the United States, Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, and other places around the world. RSC creator and administrator Rebecca Schwartz says, “When we first designed this site, we envisioned it as a place where members of the radio advertising sales community could meet with each other to discuss local trends in sales and marketing, share ideas for increasing ad sales, ask questions, address problems, and brainstorm for solutions. And that is exactly what has happened over the last twelve months.”

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Hot Points (February 15, 2010):

WOULD YOU RATHER HEAR ABOUT IT--OR LIVE IT?

 

I'd heard it maybe a dozen times, and it was getting me peeved.

 

This radio spot for a local supermarket chain, where the air personality keeps talking about how the advertiser is "Focused on your shopping experience."

 

On a clinical level, that makes sense.

 

Selling the customer an experience is a valid sales approach.

 

Here's the problem: one must actually DESCRIBE the experience.SHOW it. The listener must LIVE IT in the imagination. 

 

DON'T TELL ME I'LL HAVE AN EXPERIENCE--SHOW THE EXPERIENCE!

 

This commercial I'm hearing over and over never actually says anything about the experience they claim.

 

They just keep telling me I'm going to have it.

 

Let's say that (a) someone's trying to sell you a delicious steak and (b) you're not a vegan.

 

All they ever tell you is you're going to have "an incredible eating experience."

 

Who cares? There's no emotional charge in an "eating experience."

 

Now, if they start telling you about how thick the steak is, how juicy, how it's fork-tender USDA Prime Angus rib eye that arrives at your table, sizzling on a cast iron skillet spattering little golden dots of hot garlic butter all over your fresh white shirt--well, they're probably on to something, assuming you like steak more than groats and tofu.

 

But if all they tell you is, "This is one incredible steak."

 

So what? 

 

STEAK IS A DEAD PIECE OF MEAT--SIZZLE IS EXPERIENCE

 

Contrast the "dead meat" approach to copywriting with a commercial recently sent to me by the legendary Rod Schwartz in The Palouse. Read more. . .

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