All right, quick- this is a test. You want to buy TV spots in Columbus OH on the broadcast stations. So you do a google search on TV Stations, Columbus OH and then start chasing down results- this should be easy, right?
You know you want to find ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, WB and then you want to find an e-mail for the Local Sales Manager. I could find 2 of 5. Even finding the phone number for the WB/UPN affiliate was a pain, because THEY TOOK THEIR WHOLE SITE OFFLINE and put up a holding page- with NO CONTACT information. How lame is that?
Seriously, they want people to buy advertising from them, an electronic media, and that is the best they can do?
You have to wonder where local stations find their General Managers, because none that I’ve met seem to understand the power of integration between the web and TV, just look at their sites. Most stations, especially the big news sites, seem to be buying prepackaged templates in the same way they buy their graphics packages. If you’ve seen one site, you’ve seen them all- branding, format, content, it’s all the same.
Didn’t anyone explain the power of differentiation to these people? Do they understand their unique ability to build community (something radio used to excel at, before they became a conglomerate)?
So, after tracking down the phone number of the affiliate (not easy, because almost all the links I found were back to the worthless site) I asked for the Local Sales manager- and of course got voice mail, for her, for her assistant, so back to the receptionist, who could give me the e-mail address I needed.
If you are making it this hard for people to find the person to buy from you, you’re in trouble- especially if you are supposed to be an expert in helping your customers drive sales in their businesses.
But, don’t worry the TV stations weren’t as bad as the guy from COTA, the bus company in Columbus, who is supposed to sell ads on the side of buses. I found the site easily, but all the pages for advertising were “being updated and not available at this time” and when I called and asked to be connected, his number was disconnected!
That, my friends, is the ultimate disconnection between a media outlet and the buyer.
So, go look at your own site and examine how easy is it to find a way to initiate a business relationship. It should never be more than one click away. And always have a phone number visible.

What do you think?

here is a link to a guy who has a lot to say about the future of broadcasting-
here is a link to a blog that talks about TV stations outsourcing their sites and it references a really good article on it.
Outsourcing News Sites May Prove Short-Sighted for Local TV Stations

Just remember- it’s not all about news, it’s also about building community, for those stations that don’t have news operations.
Also found this funny link to look alike logos for TV stations- see what 7 looks like across the country- esp. funny, when your call letters, your dial position- mean NOTHING! Who does these brands? Is there any hope?