Beyond The Mic: Meet Our Sales Managers

Media is obviously a people-business.  Personalities on-air, on-line and in social media create content that attracts audiences.

But many more people are involved in our daily operations than just the voices you hear, the faces you see or the authors you read.  Without these behind-the-scenes roles, sponsorship fulfillment to our audiences wouldn’t happen.

Today, Radio Indiana introduces you to the sales managers Taja Graham, Vice President and Director of Sales, Eric Wunnenburg, Talk Stations Sales Manager, and James Conner, Music Station Sales Manager and Network Indiana. These three people play a major role in the everyday tasks here at Emmis Communications.

  1. If you had to explain what your day-to-day job entailed, how would you do so?

Eric: My day to day as a sales manager without getting too much into the weeds is boiled down to problem solving for CUSTOMERS…helping uncover solutions …..whether it’s internal customers (account managers, account coordinators, support staff etc.) or  external customers and helping our sales teams be successful with our customers.   

Taja: My job seems similar to that of a Cruise Line Captain.  I know our final destination. I know the obstacles that we might face in getting to that destination. I recognize that we have a talented crew assigned to specific task that will ultimately get us there successfully.  I often have to remind everyone of the destination and their individual task to getting us there successfully.   I have to be visible for those that need help or encouragement to completing their task.  I have to be flexible to redirect when challenged with obstacles.  I recognize the success of us getting to the destination. 

Music Stations Sales Manager and Network Indiana

James: Always be prepared with a plan and that means knowing what is needed from your sales team whether it is rate information, a client meeting, promotional idea, and support on a sales call training or just an ear to listen. I check that the inventory is updated and the appropriate rates are available for the next 90 – 180 days if needed. I make time to complete needed management requests for reporting weekly/monthly and quarterly activities. I am prepared for the unexpected opportunities when they present themselves at various times. Always have a positive attitude and support your team by encouraging them to stretch their boundaries to assure continued success. I stay on top of recruiting which requires me to spend time with LinkedIN, social media, trade, publications, and organizations

2. What is the most memorable experience you have had during your radio career? 

Eric: I have 2 that are my MOST Memorial—One professionally and One personally.  Professionally, I was fortunate to be a part of the #1 billing station in the country (WSB Radio-Atlanta, GA).  We had been the #3 billing station in the country the year before, and the following year we were able to climb to the top.  That was a special achievement as a group.  Personally, my most memorial experience is getting engaged to my (now) wife on the air as I flew with the infamous Traffic reporter Don Martin! That was quite a day that so many people who heard it live commented on over the years.

Vice President and Director of Sales

Taja: I am fortunate to have had many memorable experiences in my career.  It is hard to name just one.  What is always most notable is when I can witness someone achieving a goal that they worked hard to obtain. 

James: Meeting Jeff Smulyan at a Broadcast Management Class at the University of Indianapolis and telling him I would work for him someday. To date I’ve enjoyed a 21 year career with Emmis!

3. What has seemed to always stay the same from a marketing standpoint in radio, and what aspects have changed?

Talk Stations Sales Manager Eric Wunnenburg

Eric: The FANTASTIC response that radio can provide to customers! Understanding Consumer behavior has become more and more important in helping our customers with their MARKETING needs.

Taja: The ability to be inquisitive and ask a lot of questions.  This is invaluable in the sales department when working with prospects/clients.  No matter how much our products change/evolve, the ability to ask good questions and have an understanding will lend to how best to utilize those new products to help client accomplish their goals. 

              James: Radio is still a Reach and Frequency medium and is fantastic for delivering great results when used properly.  Unfortunately too many people want to use radio like a quick diet plan which doesn’t work for losing weight or advertising.   The things that have changed most about radio is adding the digital platforms to enhance audience engagement.  I’ve always said many of us have a favorite radio station that we are passionate about yet few are passionate about a TV station or Newspaper.  They may like a show on TV or prefer a Newscast or section of the paper but many folks will always defend their favorite station.