Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Owens Family

It's in their genes.

Buck's nephew and General Manager of Buck Owens Productions, Mel Owens, as a click on these weblinks demonstrates is carrying on the tradition of world-class entertainment and consistent community service today.

It was my great good fortune to be OM/morning personality at that Bakersfield music mill when Buck's middle son Michael was made GM.  I have worked for some terrific managers over the years, but Michael was the very best, having been groomed for business by his father from his high school years when he ran Buck's record shop.

We were in the midst of a competitive battle.  Michael and I created a budget for our contest with a grand prize of 50 times your age in cash.  We took the plan to Buck who challenged us to do better.  "Why don't we do 97 times?  That's our frequency, after all."

Leaving that office thinking to myself that I better not mess this promotion up since Buck had just doubled our budget.  I knew he'd be expecting spectacular results for his money.

He got them.

The man who recorded 26 consecutive #1 hits didn't accept second place.

So, when Michael was made manager at KTUF-KNIX/Phoenix, he took a similar approach, vowing to earmark roughly 10% of monthly gross revenues to marketing.

Even in those days that was unheard of.  Radio owners were famous for selling advertising to others but the creatively aggressive ones often felt that they could generate buzz with programming, trade-outs and co-promotions.

Michael did things differently.  He took a very good radio station and using high frequency television for several decades, he built a brand.

The more they billed, the more they advertised.  During those years, KNIX was often the heaviest TV advertiser in Phoenix.

Was it worth it?

In March of 1999 when Jacor purchased Owens' Phoenix cluster they were the market's highest billing properties, justifying a sale price of $142 million.  A reported $84 million for KNIX and and another $58 million for KESZ.

The Owens Family taught me that spending money on marketing is an investment, not a cost.

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