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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Turning Tech into a Profit Center

“Doggone it, every time I turn around, you’re asking for more money.  A new tube, a replacement headset.  An HD to SD converter.  What the heck is that, anyway.”
That’s the GM or owner when the station’s having technical problems.  Yeah, the tech side is definitely looked at as a “loss” center rather than one for profits.
So how do you turn that around?
I’ve touched on this before but it’s becoming more important every day as broadcasters scrape the sides of the bowl for more revenue.
Well, first, in the course of daily operation, show how you’re saving money.  Let management know.  It may take a little of your own time but put together a periodic (weekly?) status report.  In it you can list where you are on various projects.  As a part of that, how are you saving money on them?
“X equipment has three broken fahnestock clips.  Checked with manufacturer.  $2,000 each, minimum of 5.  Found at at 10 for $1.00.  Ordered.  Expected arrival date 12/10/15.”
“Saved $600 cost of new CD player for production room by cannibalizing two non-working units from storage.”
“Found reliable ‘cloud’ FTP server provider which will cut storage costs by $60 per month.”
Keep going. Don’t forget to list projects which are stalled…and give reasons.  But that’s not what this post is about.  What you’ve done is help management understand how you’re trying to save money.  Now you need to go one step further and show how you can help the company make money.
 The low hanging fruit:  
What services can the station offer that management doesn’t know about?  
  • A company that provides free dialup to listen to station streams?  There are some and at least one has provisions for a :10 preroll that the station can sell – in addition to the in-program blllboards and spots
  • The possibility of leasing tower space to cellular or other business services 
  •  Rental of a subcarrier or even leasing of an HD3 channel 
  • Others that may be specific to your station(s) 
When you present them, try to attach some value to them.  You can pretty-easily determine the value of tower space by checking the web and calling around.  For prerolls, you may have an idea of how many people may use it but you can always assume one based on listening – if you have an AQH of 5000 and you can add 100 listening on the phone, what’s the value ‘round the clock.  Then what’s the value of the preroll?
Button it up in a one-sheet.  That’s right.  One page.  No more.  Tell them what it is, what it does and what you think it could generate in revenue.  Any cost involved?  Don’t leave that out.
After you’ve picked the low-hanging fruit, what else can generate revenue?   
Think outside your own station box and see where you can generate some dollars.  Then put together those one-sheets and sell ‘em.  You start looking more like a profit center.  Just as important, you show you’re part of the team, working to move the entire business forward.