Categorized | Business

106.1 The River

Holding Your Own Amidst Big Corporate Competition

Everything Knoxville Magazine interviews husband and wife team, Jeff and Cindi Alpert, owners of Momentum Broadcasting.

Everything Knoxville: Now that you have been in business for over three years with two radio stations, 106.1 The River and 104.9 Q-Country, what advice can you give to small business owners struggling to compete with big corporate?

Cindi: In many cases, big corporate kills the little guy based on price alone. This is very sad for small business, but we see it happening every day when a big chain superstore comes to an area and squashes the little guy who has been there for 30 years. In our case, we figured out how to provide a product (music format) where there was a need, run the stations lean, provide unmatched customer service and deliver it to potential advertisers at a fraction of the price.

EK: When you say run it lean, does that mean cutbacks or compromising quality?

Jeff: Not at all. It means being very hands on. As owners, we personally oversee every step of the business and take on a lot of the workload ourselves. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t have a face-to-face with a client, write commercial copy, audition new music, wash the dishes, or take out the trash for that matter. We do what needs to be done.

EK: What was the hardest part about starting a new radio station in a new market?

Cindi: We are broadcasters out of Naples, Florida and have both been in the business for a long time, so the process of obtaining an FCC license, building the tower, transmitter building, studio, etc. was not the scary part. For me, it was coming to a new city, not knowing a soul, and trying to gain the respect and confidence of potential advertisers in the community. I remember standing on top of Wind Rock Mountain where our tower stands on that cold February day and thinking “Wow, we’re really doing this.” My head was spinning with ideas, but I had no contacts, no friends, no family, and no marketing budget. Sounds crazy, I know.

EK: Obviously you overcame those hurdles and have built a successful business.

Jeff: It all comes down to accountability. Our revenue stream is built entirely on advertising sales. If we don’t produce results, we don’t succeed. We have no choice but to provide the best customer service, excellent creative, lots of added value and put it out in front of a growing target audience with spendable income. Cindi and I are in touch with every single client, and if there is any concern or question, you can be sure we are there to address it immediately. In addition, we have surrounded ourselves with an incredibly talented staff. That makes all the difference.

EK: It is rare these days to actually get a human being on the phone when you call a business with a concern, let alone getting right to the owner.

Cindi: That is so true. If you own a business and you advertise with the media, you should ask yourself when the last time a station owner or even a station manager called you to say thank you or ask you if you were pleased with their performance or just to say hello. In many big corporations, customer service and accountability on the owner or manager’s part has gone out the window. I work with small businesses all the time that pride themselves on just that. I think that’s how they stay in business.

EK: In one sentence, what words of wisdom would you offer to someone starting a small business amidst big corporate competition?

Jeff: Treat every customer as your biggest customer and you will be BETTER than the big guys.

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