For success in underwriting sales, a business mentality helps
Stations that sell a lot of local underwriting don’t think “sales” is a dirty word, according to research released at the PBS Development Conference Oct. 3 .
The study, “Best Practices in Local Corporate Support,” looked at activities of the
20 stations with the highest underwriting revenue and found they tend to employ
underwriting specialists—often sales professionals—and foster a culture that supports sales efforts.
This included getting general managers involved in the process and adopting best practices from the commercial world. “We did not have a business mentality,” says Kelly McCullough, director of marketing and development at the high-performing KAET in Phoenix, but the station culture has shifted in the last three years.
“When you really need the money bad, it helps,” he says.
“Account executives tend to be on the periphery of the station culture,” says David Hosley, president of KVIE in Sacramento. “They have to be incorporated.” A PDF of the report is posted on PBS Connect.
Since pubTV’s last underwriting-practices study in 2001, securing local underwriting
support has become more difficult, execs said. “There seems to be a disconnect
between what our viewers really love about us and corporate sponsorship,” says Anna McDonald, PBS director of development.
High-performing stations have created more sophisticated sales operations that offer performance-based, competitive salaries and provide administrative staffers to support sales. Those stations also offer packages of off-air promotion with on-air underwriting credits.
PBS will appoint a station working group to address needs highlighted in the study, says McDonald.
Web page posted Oct. 11, 2007
Copyright 2007 by Current Publishing Committee
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