Pat Bryson tells Radio Ink she loves radio because radio informs us, protects us, entertains us, and becomes a friend and companion. “It uplifts us when we need to be cheered, calms us when we are stressed,” she says. “The power of sound creates an intimate relationship with our listeners. We are so much a part of their lives that they often forget how important we are to them.”
Bryson’s advice to anyone starting out in the business: “We must realize that the skills we possess today will not be the same skills we will need tomorrow and next year. We must never forget to keep learning. Expand your knowledge, your skill set, and your network of acquaintances. In the radio business, knowing the right people can open doors for you. Find a role model. Find a mentor.
“I hope that young people may realize that their ‘elders’ in the business, although they may have entered the digital world later in life, contain a wealth of wisdom and knowledge that people new to our buiness and to life can utilize. They should cherish what they can learn from experienced broadcasters.”
On whether the workplace environment has gotten better for women over the past year: “In some ways, the workplace has opened to women, given them more opportunity. Many of the sales staffs with which I work are over 60 percent women; some are entirely female. Women are occupying more mid-level and top-level management posi- tions, also. I believe women are progressing because we are good at what we do. Most women in broadcasting have not waited for doors to be opened for them, they have opened the doors for themselves. Once inside, they have surpassed expectations.”
What does radio need to be better at every day? That’s a question we ask every executive, every manager, and every advertiser we speak with on a daily basis, to keep up with the constant barrage of competition radio is faced with for the advertisers’ budgets. We reached out to some of radio’s top leaders and asked them: “If you could change one or two things about our industry, what would they be?” Here’s what they had to say.
Grow its people. Raise the level of professionalism in everyone on staff. Concentrate on understanding our clients, creating outstanding campaigns for them that utilize theater of the mind, and selling schedules, not budgets. We need to be versed in all avenues of marketing so that we may become the “go-to person” for our advertisers. We need to be the person they think of when they need marketing advice of any kind.
Oh, and yes, radio should shout our attributes from the rooftops. We need to do a better job of being in front of categories of business that need to hear our message. Believe me, they are hearing from our competitors. When companies receive marketing guidance from their national brands, it doesn’t usually include radio. They are directed to other forms of marketing. In today’s world, that usually means digital. Many radio stations now can handle digital for clients. Do our salespeople know how to integrate radio and digital? It’s a powerful combination.
Bryson Broadcasting International
Radio Ink article August 20, 2018
Pat Bryson says she owes her success to the many mentors she’s had throughout her career. “Ken Greenwood, whom I first met when I was a student at the University of Tulsa and he was dean of the communications department, and Carl Smith, who first hired me in sales, were always there to offer advice and wisdom until their deaths a few years ago,” she says. “Finding people who may become invested in your success is vital. But it comes down to hard work and persistence. We will all have ups and downs in our lives and careers. How we respond to those events determines our success. Do we quit? Do we wallow in the setbacks? Or do we pick ourselves up and move on – find another way?”
And how is Bryson paying it forward? “I was fortunate enough to have received scholarships to the Executive Development Program and the Broadcast Leadership Training programs at the NAB. Those programs were life-changing. They invested in me. I want to give that back. And I’ve had the opportunity to do that with my clients. I’ve helped complete startup operations to create their infrastructure, hired and trained staffs for them, guided them as they grew.”
“I once worked with a wonderful lady who had won her station in a divorce settlement. She called and asked, ‘Can you teach me how to run a radio station?’ I was pleased to do so. I believe that the strength of the radio industry lies in large part with the smaller independent operators who spend their lives serving their communities of license. It is vital that they are profitable. My goal is to help them to be so by increasing the skill levels of their salespeople.”
Bryson goes on, “I also believe that we have one of the most important jobs in the United States. We live in a capitalistic system. Someone has an idea for a product, they make that product, advertise that product, sell that product, make more product, advertise that product, sell that product, etc. And so the wheels of commerce move round and round. The grease on the wheels of commerce is advertising. That’s what we do! We work with clients to help them to turn the wheels of commerce. ’Nothing happens till someone sells something!’ How true! Our jobs are vital to keeping America strong. And I believe that radio is the most effective way to influence consumer behavior.”