President’s Corner January 2017

About a month ago, South Carolina Broadcasters Association members were guests at a reception in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of South Carolina. I had the opportunity to speak with more than a dozen executives, and almost all of them communicated the same message: they are not seeing enough graduates trained in advertising sales, and they wanted our program to make sure students are aware of the number of opportunities (and the related compensation) in sales as they are aware of careers in journalism, production, writing, and management.
In response, I am working with local broadcasters to create a one-day sales seminar that is designed to get students excited about careers in advertising sales, explore the basics of sales (including the sales process, compensation, and legal issues), and introduce them to the sales managers who will be hiring entry-level sales staff.
Those of you who already have fully developed sales courses already know the importance of sales training to our broadcast colleagues. If you don’t have such a program, I encourage you to consider a few options that will serve both your students and the media community. First, you could consider a one- or two-day seminar, led by local broadcasters, that provides the type of introduction to sales discussed above. The second is to consider hiring a local broadcaster as an adjunct to teach a course or two a year in media sales, again introducing new opportunities to your students.
Either way, your students will benefit from a greater understanding of the field they are preparing to enter. And your program will benefit from closer relationships with local media. And getting started is easy—you can get names of local media executives from your state broadcast organizations. If you want a copy of the one-day agenda I’ve prepared for our training here at USC, just send me a note to with your email address, and I’ll send you a copy. All you need to do then is recruit a few broadcasters to present and then publicize the program to your students. One more note: You may have a debate regarding whether to charge students to attend the seminar. I recommend a modest fee (perhaps $25) to cover the cost of lunch and refreshments, but also to make sure that student have some investment in the training. There is no doubt that someone who has invested their own money in the training will pay more attention and get more out of the seminar.
If you have other ideas about how we can broaden our students’ view of the field and their opportunities, please share those ideas with me so that we can pass them on to all BEA members. Thanks for your involvement in BEA and for your commitment to train the next generation of media professionals.

Augie Grant, President, BEA
University of South Carolina