In 1996, I launched the 40 Most Powerful People in Radio issue because I was constantly getting the question, "Who are the most powerful people or most influential people in radio?" It seemed to me that if it worked for Forbes, it would work for us as a means of helping chronicle the state of the radio industry each year.
I have to admit I was anxious, because I didn't want to make a mistake. I took our role very seriously and created an editorial committee that involved outside research and data people who could help us stay properly focused. And today we take it even more seriously because we have learned about the actions and reactions this list creates.
Though we cannot reveal specifics because it would embarrass some people on or formerly on the list, but we have seen some incredible things happen as a result of the annual "Top 40," such as companies being downgraded by analysts on Wall Street when they've moved down on the list, and massive lobbying efforts by some companies and individuals with the intention of influencing our decisions and the positions of certain executives.
In fact, when this started happening I increased the size of our decision committee and we all agreed that we needed to be in unanimous agreement on every decision about who is on the list and their positions. Frankly, I did not want any single one of us to be influenced, and we wanted to be held accountable by the committee, whose names are not published to keep us all honest -- we don't want someone trying to get to us!
We spend an average of three months researching our data and making our decisions, though once in a while a monkey wrench will mess us up at the last minute. One year there was a major sale announced the day before we went to press, which completely upset the list. Fortunately, we had time to change it. Hirings, firings, replacements -- all move the list around and sometimes someone goes off the list simply because another company moved in and pushed others down.
The point is, we take the list very seriously, and, so, apparently, do many in the industry. It has become an institution and a documentation of our time.
And another thing has happened: This has become our most read issue, our highest circulation issue, and the issue with the most reprints and extra copy sales. We have learned that everyone tends to read it because they need to know what was written about their boss and their competitors and because it helps them understand industry strategy.
The issue is also distributed to almost every major radio buyer and agency using radio. And that of course results in its being our biggest advertising issue of the year. People use it for announcements, a chance to congratulate colleagues or customers, and, of course -- since everyone reads it -- it's a great opportunity to get a message out.
We've also learned the 40 Most Powerful issue has a long shelf life. You'll find it on the coffee tables of CEOs, reception rooms, and as a keeper year to year and a research tool for many.
We are very proud of this issue, and we would like to invite you to become a Radio Ink subscriber. Radio Ink remains highly focused on sales, management, and marketing, and each issue is filled with ideas, tips, and fast-read stories that make radio stations grow. It's a staple atmost radio stations in America to this day and has a passalong through most of the station.
If you're not a subscriber to Radio Ink, you can receive the 40 Most Powerful People edition in the mail if you subscribe right away -- by Wednesday, July 16. This will be your first of 16 copies in the mail. And yes, in spite of the world of electronics, our subscribers still want the print edition because it's like a research library of hundreds of sales ideas. When they need an idea to stimulate business, they reach to a past copy and find a fresh idea -- or two, or three.
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