Radio One expansion spurs national sales

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Radio one, the largest African-American-owned station group, is offering national package deals to advertisers as a result of its recent expansion.

Publicly held Radio One's $1.3 billion acquisition of 12 radio stations from Clear Channel Communications gives the company 49 unwired stations.

Alfred Liggins, president-CEO, said he now has enough outlets to offer package deals to advertisers who want to reach the urban market. The network added stations in Cleveland, Dallas, Greenville, S.C., Houston, Los Angeles, Miami and Raleigh/Durham, N.C.

"We're starting this [sales] division because we felt there was a need for one-stop shopping by national advertisers. Some of the national accounts want to talk to one person rather than making 50 phone calls to different stations," said Tony Washington, VP-sales, who heads up the three-person national sales staff with offices in Detroit and Washington.


The division will also be looking for marketers across all categories who haven't advertised on urban radio formats, said Mario Christino, director of marketing and research.

"We're looking for advertisers who want to go beyond spot advertising, who would like to participate in events we present or even sponsor segments on our talk stations," Mr. Christino said.

"If mainstream networks are doing this, it's also expected of ethnic networks. As a media buyer, it's nice to have this option. It's a step towards maximizing added-value dollars with national promotions," said Robert Lydon, local broadcast supervisor at Zenith Media, Los Angeles, which makes local buys on Radio One's KKBT-FM for Toyota Motor Sales USA,


According to James LaMarca, media director for Unity Media, New York, such packages usually mean spot buys on multiple stations.

"Among the Radio One group of stations they have multiple formats. All are urban formats directed to an African-American audience, but some skew very young. On the other end of the spectrum they have gospel stations that appeal to the 45-plus audience," said Mr. LaMarca, noting that the agency still has to examine a station's performance and the buy still has to be efficient. "I want an advantage for my client, if I buy this group of stations, what price are they giving me that I can pass on?"

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