When a media buyer is placing a buy in either an unfamiliar market or at an unfamiliar radio station, there are several factors he or she considers prior to generating the insertion order. First, the buyer examines Arbitron Data (notice I said "Arbitron," not "Neilson" or other services) to examine R&F and GRPs to effectively gauge efficiency. The buyer next will look at how the format they're buying historically performs for the desired demo, followed by historical market data (like looking at a four-book average to weed out any flukes). The last thing a seasoned buyer considers is how listeners use the radio station.
If you're an all-news format, listeners use you for "traffic & weather together" and not much else (so buy traffic sponsorships); CHR stations have tons of cume but come up short in the TSL department so product placement and other creative sales products are essential; ACs have tremendous TSL but are used as background from 8a-5p, so the station better be efficient enough to warrant a high-frequency schedule; and Country--my dear Country--is the greatest.
A passionate P1 grouping with strong TSL and Cume make it the ideal format for just about every advertiser. But, with budgets constrained by the Great Recession, buyers have to be even more selective with dayparting. The local sales rep who can help the buyer maximize the budget by understanding how the listeners use the station will always deliver for the agency and client. Perhaps suggest PM drive over AM drive or nights and weekends over middays to reach certain demos. If you deliver results, you will always gain a larger piece of the pie the next go-around.
Sell results, not inventory and everyone wins.