Why Jobs in Sales Can Lead to Big Things

jobs in sales radio sales jobs

Despite the struggling economy and a world seemingly devoid of employment – jobs in sales are available and have great growth potential

For some reason, jobs in sales always seem to illicit a bad reaction from people.

Most young people don’t seem to be gravitating toward sales careers and yet, they often have the most upside in the entire entertainment industry.

“Great sales people are hard to find!” says Katie Gambill, President and General Manager of 5 Star Radio Group in Clarksville, Tennessee.  “I learned radio in the trenches.  I started in sales, fell in love with the business and never imagined myself doing anything else.”

After seven years as the Director of Sales for various Clear Channel radio stations in Arkansas, Gambill was recruited by her competition, Saga Communications, to become General Manager of 5 Star Radio, and eventually added President to her title.

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“Radio isn’t something that’s just a job, people who love radio are passionate about it and couldn’t image doing anything else,” says Gambill.  “I get excited when I see a new employee come in, not knowing what to expect and then I see that passion ignite.  When I see that, I know they’ll be successful.”

Here’s more with 5-star radio’s Katie Gambill, who proves that success in sales can lead to big things:

In Television, I always had the hardest time finding talented Technical Directors. Are there certain jobs in radio that it’s hard to find talented people to fill? 

Gambill: Without a doubt it’s sales people.

Some reps come in thinking that selling radio is an easy job and working at a radio station will be entertaining. However, the first few months of radio sales are difficult because there is so much to learn.

jobs in sales radio general manager katie gambill

Katie Gambill, 5 Star Radio group President and General Manager

It takes someone with a great attitude and strong work ethic to be successful in radio sales. We can teach them radio; we can’t teach them to have a positive attitude.

Good advice,  jobs in sales are where people looking to break into radio should focus – outside of attitude, are there certain skills someone needs to master to be effective in radio sales? 

Gambill: Being a successful sales rep isn’t about learning radio products, it’s about being a problem solver.

The best marketing consultants are able to sit down with advertisers, hear their goals and figure out ways to help them reach those using our products. The best sales reps have a “can do” attitude and figure out ways to get it done.

They don’t wait to be told what to do.

I tell people all the time that internships are the new job interview and a great chance to prove yourself at a company – how often do you hire people who have interned with you?

Gambill: We definitely hire interns.

We have a hyper-local news site called Clarksvillenow.com, and our local college’s journalism department sends interns to us to gain reporting experience. We have hired at least three of these interns.

It’s a benefit for us to hire an intern because know their qualifications and how well they do their job already. We also already have a feel for how well they blend with the rest of the team.

If someone wants to have a successful career in radio, what are the most important skills they should learn? 

Gambill: Public speaking. Knowing how to present yourself confidently is crucial. The key to getting a job in radio is simply getting your foot in the door.  When we see talent we want, we try to keep it.

For jobs in sales, knowing how marketing works is important. We have so many different products in our tool belt now with radio, text blasts, and all the digital advertising available to us that being able to figure out how to use multiple products to help your clients is beneficial.

The current generation has been labeled the “Me Me Me” generation, lazy and entitled, if you could give one piece of advice to the collective college classes studying radio across the nation, what would it be? 

Gambill: I don’t think it’s right to label a whole generation. I have a sales rep on my staff right now that is young, and she is one of the most talented new reps I’ve seen come through the door in a long time. She has the talent to grow into management one day.

What makes her unique is her drive.

She is willing to do what it takes to get the job done, she’s direct, and she has a “can do” attitude.

I’d take ten more like her if I could find them.

Let’s shift gears and talk about radio in broader terms – A recent study by emarketer.com concludes that by next year more than 25% of the US population will be listening to music on their smartphones. Are radio stations doing enough to stay up with audience demands?

Gambill: There is always more that can be done.

I am really glad we are now are simulcasting online what we play on-air, because we put forth a great effort to provide a positive listening experience on-air.  It’s crucial that be the case when listeners tune in online. If listeners stream a station online and it is choppy with tons of PSA’s, they aren’t going to come back.

We have to make sure their online experience matches the quality they are accustomed to from their on-air radio broadcast.

In your personal opinion – how different will radio be in 5-10 years from what it is now?

Gambill: I hope that we are more local.

I’m sure how we consume radio will evolve, but I feel that be hyper-local combined with over serving our community is the key to keeping our listeners loyal.

Stories of radio jocks getting fired for something they say on-air seem to pop up every few months… how do you teach your staff to push the line, but not cross it? 

Gambill: We want our jocks to be relevant.

They need to be aware of what current news/pop culture, community news, artist/music info and other pertinent content. We only have a few seconds to make an impression. Therefore, they need to make sure they deliver what interests the listener in that short time.

However, pushing the line just to push the line isn’t always what works.

What is the most important part of the job for a general manager? 

Gambill: Its people…it’s always the people.

Every now and then, we’re interrupted with a tower issue or other priority. However, it’s keeping our staff motivated and engaged in the stations. We work to figure out what’s important to them and empowering out staff to “buy in” to what the stations’ current projects or goals are.

About Brian Clapp

Brian Clapp has worked in the broadcast media for over 14 years as a writer, editor, producer & news director. After beginning his career in Atlanta at CNN/Sports Illustrated, he switched coasts to Seattle to work at Fox Sports Northwest. In 2010, Brian began pursuing a new found passion on the digital media side, launching a successful website and then taking on the role of Director of Content for WorkinSports.com & WorkinEntertainment.com.

Recently Brian has become addicted to Google+ and LinkedIn so add him to your circles and make him a contact. No seriously, you should.


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