Market Profile: ABC urban radio unit signs three national advertisers

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ABC Radio's newest creation, Urban Advantage Network, has signed its first advertisers. The network debuts Jan. 1 on 161 affiliates.

So far, J.C. Penney Co., Tyson Foods and Warner-Lambert Co. have bought time on the African-American radio network.

Doug Alligood, senior VP-special markets, BBDO Worldwide, New York, has seen the UAN presentation and said it's strong enough to pull in national advertisers that haven't used urban radio. "I think UAN is a good, smart idea," he said, adding, "It's under consideration by a client. . . . We definitely feel UAN makes sense."


UAN is the answer to advertisers looking to target African-American consumers on a national basis, said Darryl Brown, ABC Radio Networks exec VP-general manager. "The African-American consumer is being revalued in the advertising community. Banks, car dealerships and drug companies are now targeting this 14% of the population."

UAN is bundling three satellite-fed music formats with two of ABC's established top morning-drive personalities, Tom Joyner, a favorite among the 25-to-54-year-old demographic, and Doug Banks, who appeals to 18-to-34 year-olds. Reggie Denson, director of urban radio sales for ABC Radio Networks, said the network "will reach 83% of the total African-American population."

Mr. Brown, who helped develop the UAN plan, stressed the network's lineup marries "the type of consumers advertisers want on the types of radio stations they want to be on."

Under the UAN plan, "affiliates do not have to clear 100% of any of the services except the two morning programs," explained Mr. Brown. "A lot of the stations, especially in major markets, go back to local programming, while others pick up any of the music formats that come with live announcers in Dallas or combine their local programming with our news service."


"UAN is not driven by personalities; it's driven by inventory," said Mr. Denson. "We plan on offering 28 units a week in all dayparts, which can either be 30- or 60-second spots on either a 26-week or 52-week basis."

Programming on the 161 affiliates-60% of them FM stations- has the capability of reaching 5 million listeners weekly, according to Mr. Denson. ABC has been making presentations to ad agencies and marketers the last two months. Account execs brought a commissioned Yankelovich research study, which claims radio is the primary medium of choice for African-Americans.

While UAN was being formulated, Mr. Brown acknowledged Radio One, which has eight of its 49 owned stations as UAN affiliates, was also pursuing a national network.

Mr. Brown, who held talks with Alfred Liggins, president-CEO of Radio One, said, "Since we've already started a network, we're trying to put our collective resources together."

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