At Curtis Media Group, we have a well-earned reputation for innovation.
We believe we are uniquely positioned to take advantage of emerging opportunities beyond just buying and selling stations, and are not afraid to try new things.
After substantial growth over nearly six decades, we are still small enough to be nimble, yet big enough to have the resources to do great things. We don’t have to run everything by a Board of Directors – we can just walk down the hall and talk to the owner.
We are naturally more proactive than reactive, and we are bullish on the future of radio.
Take a look at a short list of our innovations in this ever-changing industry:
- Duopolies – Today, it might sound like a no-brainer, but we were buying and building FM stations in the 1970’s to complement our existing AM stations before most other groups even knew what duopoly meant. Our Laurinburg AM/FM combo, WEWO/WSTS, was one of the country’s first top billing and most profitable small market operations by the early 1980’s. Today, all our markets have both AM and FM signals.
- FM/FM Combos – Curtis Media Group was among the first to combine two FM signals to serve the Triangle with “The Country Combo” (96.9 and 101.1) as later as “The Pulse” (102.5 and 96.9).
- Translators – Curtis Media Group was quick to take advantage of the rules changes on low power FMs, and has added translators to many of our own and our partner stations to better serve our listeners and our advertisers.
- Moves and Upgrades – CMG has always had a vision for what stations can become. Maximizing potential of our radio properties to meet listener, advertiser, and investor needs through power upgrades, city of license moves or market clusters.
- Computerized Traffic and Billing – Before vendors even considered developing software for the broadcast industry, CMG hired an independent programmer to create a system for our Laurinburg stations in the early 1980’s.
- In-house Traffic and National Sales – If you want something done right, do it yourself! When we couldn’t get the local traffic we needed without giving away our inventory, we found a way to do our own and created the Triangle Traffic Network (TTN). When independent groups like ours were not offered to national advertisers fairly or consistently, we built our own agency in CMG Southern Sales. Now both networks are offered to other broadcasters as well.
- Combo Selling – When market clusters began to be the norm, combination selling was thought to be the most efficient and effective way to go, and we adopted this new strategy early on. But when our own experience taught us that advertisers didn’t always get the best ideas or radio partners for their business, we were equally quick to reverse direction and go back to exclusive station selling, which continues today. So that we don’t lose the benefit of sharing ideas and information, we incorporate regular “Round Robin” discussions for advertisers and prospective clients where we put heads together to create unique and creative solutions to our customer’s problems, utilizing input from all station sellers and across job categories.
- Voice Tracking – Our first voice-tracking system was also in small markets where it can be a challenge to attract top on-air talent. But with the right local input and careful management, automation and voice-tracking proved to be successful and actually improved the listening experience for our audience, and hence, effectiveness for our advertisers. Today, where it makes sense, voice tracking continues to allow our now top local talent to multi-task without compromising the personal quality of our programming.
- Live – Because we are small enough to be nimble, we have also reversed direction on stations and markets where “live and local” was the better way to go. We are relentless in pursuing new ideas, but not stubborn when research and experience teaches us otherwise.
- Digital Assets – To complement our on-air assets, we were quick to embrace the advantages of digital advertising with station and network websites, premium content for online subscribers to ACCSports.com, and custom designed sites including NCFYI.com, a resource we offer to our news network affiliates. In addition, we were among the first to partner with online job listing, vehicle advertising and dating sites, all powered by radio.
- Publishing – We have taken ACCSports.com to new levels with a daily sports radio show distributed over our statewide NCN network, a bi-weekly newpaper, quarterly full-color glossy magazines with all the latest recruiting, football and basketball news and a full service, interactive website with premium content for subscribers.
- Programming – Our first ground-breaking programming move on a 100,000 FM was Family Radio WSTS in 1980. This combination gospel program and gospel music station quickly became the largest gospel FM in the country. Again, before it was “cool”, we flipped a popular rock leader in WQDR to country in the 1980’s and never looked back. Today, WQDR is the market leader, and has been named as the Top Large Market country station in the nation several times by the CMA. In 2003, we again led the industry in bringing the Spanish format to 1 100,000 watt FM, our own La Ley, to meet the needs of the growing community of listeners and advertisers. Today, La Ley is the leading Spanish format station in the state. Similarly, we changed a popular 1000,000 watt country FM to a Talk format when we launched North Carolina’s first FM Talk station in 2004 with WZTK, a format previously dominated by only AM stations.
In short, we lead more than we follow. We hire the best people, and then we get out of their way.
We trust our instincts, do our homework, and love to reinvent ourselves and try new things.
It’s what makes it fun!