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SYNDICATION 101... Bartering vs. Brokering, part 2

BROKER: Stations want to sell you as much time as possible. BARTER: Stations want to "give" you as little time as possible, until you show them how to sell your show to their local prospective sponsors. After that, they are open to more time.

BROKER: Stations want to sell you weekdays (days and nights), since these dayparts cost the most. BARTER: Stations want to start you out by "giving" you weekends and overnights, since that is when they have the fewest listeners. This is (again) until you show them how to sell your show to their local prospective sponsors. After that, they are more likely to offer weekdays.

BROKER: Stations will want you to buy their prime dayparts (morning drive, afternoon drive, mid-day), since for these they can charge the most. BARTER: Stations will want to give you their least-listened to dayparts (evenings and overnights) until you (again) show them how to sell it.

BROKER: Stations don't care so much what your show is about, as long as it fits basic guidelines, and as long as you pay your bills (bigger stations will be more strict on the content, of course.) However this means your show may stick out like a sore thumb (and not be listened to as much) compared with their other programming. BARTER: Stations become extremely choosy about how your show blends in with their current programming. But when you are finally airing on stations with programming compatible with you, you will fit right in and listeners will not tune out as much. This makes station selection very important when bartering... you can't just "try for your local stations"; you have to use a database of all available stations in the US and Canada.

BROKER: When buying your way onto a "network", each of it's affiliates has it's own choice whether or not to carry your show, even though you are paying for the full network. So you are still going to have to do your own affiliate relations phone-work with each station, otherwise you will have no idea what stations you are really on. BARTER: You do your phone-work ahead of time anyway (that is how you get the stations in the first place,) so you know exactly what stations you are on.

BROKER: If you have something to sell (books, consulting, etc.,) then brokering may look good to you simply because it's more like the advertising model that you may have already considered. BARTER: But, even the advertising model makes more sense if your advertising is "free". Consider bartering to be free advertising.

BROKER: You are buying the time-slot, so you run as many commercials (or none) as you want. BARTER: You get some spots, and the stations get some. This is called the barter "split".

BROKER: One acceptable use of brokering is that it is quick to start. BARTER: Takes months to start. But if your show is going to be around for more than a year, your barter can catch up and surpass your brokering, and do so without paying the stations at all.

BROKER: Stations don't care about the growth of your show. They just want the money. BARTER: Stations care very much about the growth of your show, i.e. the affiliate list... since the stations want to be part of building a "hit". A hit is defined to be the number of stations carrying a show. (Hits attract national sponsors; non-hits do not.)

BROKER: Buying your way onto a network puts the network between you and the stations; this makes getting affidavits for your network commercials a difficult task. You will probably have to stay in contact with the stations directly in order to get the affidavits that you need. (The network salesperson probably will not bring this up, as this would make his/her sale more difficult.) BARTER: You are dealing directly with the affiliates anyway, so affidavits are one of the main topics you focus on from the beginning, and it becomes part of your aggreement with the affiliates.

Next Topic: Bartering vs Brokering, Part 3

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