Skip to main content

Job market for hire

With the nation's jobless figures on the rise, there's money to be made by radio and television stations that use their channels and the Internet to generate revenue from employment advertising, a new report shows.

Over the last two years, daily newspapers experienced a revenue shortfall in employment ads, estimated at $1 billion to $2 billion each year. That's based on what they would have taken in if it weren't for new competitors, such as online job boards, local Pennysavers and billboard companies. Stations should be capitalizing on this.

The report was developed by Classified Intelligence L.L.C. and the Advanced Interactive Media Group L.L.C., two affiliated consulting groups that work with newspapers, broadcasters and Web-based companies to develop and implement interactive media strategies.

It recommends that broadcasters develop an online/on-air/audiotext combination service for employment ads and find a reputable company to run the necessary software to support it.

It cites the six Infinity Broadcasting stations in Baltimore that started a print employment magazine even before they launched their online employment Web site.

Nearly 75% of all radio stations report that they are pursuing recruitment revenue—up from almost none in 1990—while some TV stations have also developed both on-air and online employment services during the past few years.

"Newspapers' market share in employment advertising is going to diminish steadily during the next few years as broadcasters, dotcoms and other specialty services challenge their rates, squeeze their margins and find new ways of helping employers reach prospective employees," says Peter M. Zollman, executive editor of the report and founding principal of the consulting groups.

"Broadcasters have to understand how their competition works," he says. "What do newspapers do that a broadcaster can capitalize on to build a business? How does employment advertising work to make an employer want to use radio or TV instead of a newspaper? These are the issues that stations need to understand if they want to take advantage of money that's out there for the taking."

The industry study offers a 12-point strategy section for broadcasters on ways to create on-air and online revenue from employers. For example, stations should be thinking about creating alliances with their local newspaper, complementing their offerings with promotion, combined sales efforts and joint job fairs. They can also take advantage of their local airtime, which drives traffic to the station's Web site and employer Web sites.

In many markets, real-estate programs are now common on Sunday mornings. The report suggests that stations offer an employment show during overnight hours or early dayparts. This also might be useful programming for second-tier cable channels or stations that are considering multicasting.

Finally, the importance of providing a comprehensive package, not just a Web site, is stressed. "Merely offering a job-posting site is a limited service that will probably deliver limited (or no) results," the report states. "Include employers in your on-air promotion for your site; offer audiotext and even print products, as well as online products."