Broadcast media sellers and traffic departments should have a collaborative relationship. Since the traffic department manages your station’s content, including when ad spots air, you likely already interact with them regarding understanding avails.

However, you might not know what they do exactly and its value to you as a salesperson. Let’s go inside the day-to-day of traffic managers to find out!

Traffic Department Primary Responsibilities

Traffic managers in the broadcast industry are not unlike those who manage physical traffic. Their main role is the organizer of content, ensuring each day’s programming is accurate and complete. They schedule commercials, on-air promotions and all other programming for continuity.

Traffic departments also “own” the log relating to the reconciliation of whether ads played in the spots purchased by advertisers. They are the primary users of your traffic software, where all the scheduling occurs. How streamlined these processes are depends on the capabilities of your traffic system. Not all traffic platforms are the same, and their functionality is critical to sellers and traffic managers.

In a given day, traffic departments may:

  • Manage logs
  • Handle copy instructions
  • Make log changes
  • Run missing copy reports
  • Evaluate bumped spots and makegoods
  • Update avails
  • Create co-op affidavits

With such key responsibilities that impact sellers, understanding traffic managers’ work and collaborating is critical for station success.

The Importance of Traffic Managers to Broadcast Sellers

Broadcast traffic managers act as intermediaries between nearly all departments and how they align to broadcast operations. They must be vigilant in the execution of promotional and advertising content, ensuring advertisers get the spots they should.

Traffic roles often work with sales managers to develop bundles and packages to help salespeople reach budget goals. You have to depend on their expertise and proficiency in traffic software to be a successful seller. That can often create some challenges.

The Challenges Traffic Departments Face

Traffic departments are process-oriented and rely on their traffic platform to help fulfill their duties. Unfortunately, things don’t always align as they should. A system’s usability and features vary, and when they are lacking, it affects the entire station and the process of selling, scheduling and billing advertisers.

We recently had the opportunity to capture the story of a traffic manager and her challenges. Her concerns were the inability to change spots on closed logs and that reconciliation reporting was inaccurate.

Those gaps in capabilities created a domino effect, impacting the ability to document ads that ran as purchased and to invoice them. By replacing the software, the traffic director was able to address these problems. She regained rate visibility at the spot level and other workflow functionality, including easy copy insertions for bulk orders and break prioritization without log manipulation.

When traffic departments have the right tools, sellers can worry less about orders and execution. But what about sellers and their need to have real-time avail information?

Traffic Avails Can Be an Inefficient Process

The accuracy of your proposals depends on avail data. Often, broadcast sellers and traffic require a lot of back and forth. You have to enter traffic systems to check avails to create the proposal. Once an advertiser accepts, there are more reviews and final approvals by traffic. Finally, they must verify that the spot is still open and execute it. In all, this can take hours!

The more effective workflow is to use a platform that integrates traffic information in real time and reduces the lengthy review process. With this approach, the relationship between sales and traffic is smoother. All parties can work more efficiently as a result, and everybody can appreciate that!

Traffic and Sales Working in Harmony

With a better understanding of how traffic works and how the traffic department supports you, you can identify bottlenecks and challenges in your current process. More integrated and consolidated technology can smooth out these issues and ensure accuracy in avails, orders and invoicing.

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