An Interview with Christina Escobar- President at Univision [VIDEO]

Charlie Cadbury sits down with Christine Escobar, President at Eurovision, to discuss the role of radio in her career and the current dynamics of the radio market.

Speakers: Charlie Cadbury, CEO, Say It Now; Christine Martinez Escobar, General Manager & Director of Sales, Univision.

Read the full transcript here:

Charlie Cadbury 0:12
So we’re here with Christine Escobar, from Univision. Hello. Hi. Great. I’m really nice to understand a bit more about yourself. Who what’s your role here? And if you could introduce Univision as well.

Christine Escobar 0:24
Sure, absolutely. Thank you for being here. I’m excited to be here. My name is Christina Escobar. I’m a president, general manager and director of sales of the Univision cluster here in Austin. And we have three radio stations. Here, we have kale Qb, which is a Mexican regional format, we have a mod, which is a Spanish hits format, we actually also have it through their radio station, which is sports radio. And then we have two TV stations as well. So that’s Univision, which is our anchor, flagship station, and then our only Mosque, which is our secondary station as well. Beyond that, we have digital properties. And we also have experiential events that we engage in. We’re about a 50 person team here, and just getting back into the office. So it’s good to be back with the team again.

Charlie Cadbury 1:10
Amazing. And if we were going to talk to your team and ask them what your what your role is, what would you what do they say your role is?

Christine Escobar 1:17
My role is to make sure that the lights stay on that we don’t lose our signal over the air on TV or radio, and that I’m responsible for making sure our revenue goals are hit. So at the end of the day, I’d like to think I’m their cheerleader and their supporter. They’re all smarter than I am. So I rely on them to make sure that this world goes round. But I think that’s what they might say.

Charlie Cadbury 1:41
And then what’s your actual day to day? What do you what do you really get like, well down and dirty with,

Christine Escobar 1:47
it never is the same. Every day, I need to make sure that I’m checking revenue figures, checking ratings, ensuring that the sales team has enough in their pipeline, making sure that we’re being innovative in the way that we deliver our news and deliver our on our radio shows. And just kind of making sure that everything is you know, greased and oiled and well kept, and also the departments, the synergy between the departments is also crucial. So making sure that I’m that Lego connector, to keep them together and remind them that they don’t operate in silos. So

Charlie Cadbury 2:24
okay, Joseph, definitely, definitely teach Keef, Chief cheerleader. I’m very familiar with that role. So we talked a bit about your attitude to radio, what it’s meant to your life, you know, what, what, what role has gone radio played in your life?

Christine Escobar 2:36
Well, it’s played a huge role, considering that’s where I got my start. So I went to the University of Texas at Austin, and I was an advertising major. And so I did not have a job. And I was about to graduate. But I was interning at a group of radio stations here in town. And I was hanging promotional banners. And I was out at remotes. And the director of sales said, Do you have a job after you graduate? And I didn’t. So she said, why don’t you come in, and we’ll talk about it. So I did. And I got hired on as an account executive, this was probably 23 years ago. And I got the phone book, which was my account list. And I was representing one of six stations, probably the lowest ranked station. And I got into sales that way. So that the door slammed in my face a couple times, which was hard, and but jumped back on the horse and radio was really my first step into the career path that I’m currently in. So it was a big deal. For me, radio is a big deal.

Charlie Cadbury 3:34
Amazing. So you’ve got a really good insight into the advertising formats, right. And so in terms of radio ad formats, you know, how how’s that evolved over your tenure over the last 23 years?

Christine Escobar 3:45
Wow, it’s changed. You know, the stations that I used to represent were all in English. And now I work with a group of stations that is 100% Spanish language content. So I think the language change with a more diverse audience has certainly been something that I’ve seen change. I’ve also seen a lot more niche formats, changes to make sure that they’re targeting that individual that they’re looking for, and really almost trying to adjust for the products that they feel they need to push and sell. And so this format might make more sense. So I think there was a day when there was a cookie cutter format across the board. And you could take it and do it in LA and New York and Miami and Austin. And now because the markets are so different, you really have to cater to the needs of who’s listening in the market. So I think it’s made it more diverse,

Charlie Cadbury 4:35
which is really interesting. So and it’s kind of that sound feels like way more kind of customer centric, you know, understanding about the needs of your audience, and then, you know, trying to speak to them rather than, you know, have it be an all powerful podcast.

Christine Escobar 4:47
Absolutely. It’s there’s so much fragmentation. So we’re not only competing for the audience on the terrestrial side on the linear radio side, but also, there’s the digital streaming component that also chips away A at listeners. So there’s a lot of erosion. So we have to be as much of what the consumer wants us to be. So always reinventing?

Charlie Cadbury 5:09
And how do you keep your your finger on the pulse? How do you listen to the wants and needs of the audience?

Christine Escobar 5:15
Well, we are big into the community in terms of being out at events and making sure that we’re taking the pulse looking to see what the individuals are listening to, as you know what the ratings metrics would say, A P one listener, and we’re having constant dialogue. So if we have promotions on the air for one radio station, and we don’t get any feedback, and no one’s calling, or no one’s submitting entries, then we have to reevaluate, does this the right music genre that, that our audience wants to hear? So

Charlie Cadbury 5:45
that’s, I’m interested to dig a bit into that, too. Do you have specific metrics about engagement,

Christine Escobar 5:50
you know, we rely on our ratings provider to be able to get that information. Other than that, there’s not a real concrete way that we can connect with the audience to know what their insights are, and what they gravitate towards short of having a concert and seeing the people show up and buy tickets, which the last two years was hard, really hard. So we’re getting back into that. But you know, it’s really just paying attention to, to who calls who reaches out who’s at our events, what our clients say, what the clients see from their customer base, because we always have to have our ear on the pulse of that as well, since they pay the bills.

Charlie Cadbury 6:29
Of course, of course. And we’ll also we’re trying to look at best practice in radio ads, you know, what makes a really memorable radio ads, and what I’d wondered whether you can think back, and maybe think of the first radio ads that you remember, or possibly an ad from a while ago that’s stuck in your mind,

Christine Escobar 6:49
gosh, nothing specific jumps out at me like a brand or service. However, those ads that had a jingle would always resonate, it was something that you would pick up and that you would continue to say or speak or sing throughout the day. taglines, I think are also very, very important and memorable. I say that now. And I can’t think of one but I can think of plenty for the current time. But I think that’s really the connection point is when there’s something that the listener and the audience and the consumer can pick up on and say, hey, you know, that’s trendy, or that could be something that I would say, I think that’s what helps things stick and it resonates more with the audience.

Charlie Cadbury 7:31
And so, obviously, we know what we do is we create these ad campaigns that you can talk back to and that actually kind of lean into trying to make people talk in, in the real world firing up the vocal cords. And with that kind of engagement, what what do you think of the future of smart speaker listening and engagement within your world? Well, I

Christine Escobar 7:51
know smart speaker listening has certainly seen an increase. So we definitely play in that space. I think the consumer these days wants instant results and instant gratification and ease and convenience. So if there were some sort of interaction where smart speaker could do what you wanted it to do after playing that brand, or that client’s commercial, I think people would really gravitate towards that. It would help the client be able to see those metrics right away. And then it would help the consumer feel like they could get their hands on it. ASAP. Which we live in a I want it now world. So I could see that as being definitely something that would that would be successful.

Charlie Cadbury 8:31
Great. And in terms of other other kind of innovations and changes the way that you know, you’re engaging with the audience, have you kind of grown your social properties? Are you a kind of a you’ve got more touch points, you’re looking for more channels to communicate with your audience?

Christine Escobar 8:44
Absolutely, absolutely. The beauty of that will be set one up soon as we have mass portfolio of offerings for consumers. So from the linear radio stations that we have to the digital audio consumption, ways that we have through our euphoria platform, which is our music platform on the digital side, that streams. Social media is definitely something that we found allows us to connect with our consumers in different ways. Each radio station page has a different type of consumer as we know psychographically so when we put the content on our social pages, we see the interaction on that side. Our digital sites are also something that we’ve learned that there’s a lot of interaction in that space and and then concerts and viral streams of artists and then those are all ways to be able to engage and to get feedback. And and there’s interaction that happens between the artist and the consumer and the consumer and the client and having that integration between all of those pieces of the of the puzzle I think is what people are looking for.

Charlie Cadbury 9:55
Yeah. And how do you how do you kind of feel about you know, the growth of the industry do you is there’s good times ahead. Do I wait, what what’s what’s your, your gauge on what’s coming up?

Christine Escobar 10:04
Well, I thought I knew before the pandemic, and then that kind of threw everything for a loop for what we thought. So I feel like we’re hitting the reset button and starting again. And I definitely know that the linear radio stations will continue to grow, people are more apt to listening to news. And I think that’s one thing that we’ve seen the last two years that has changed. And there’s a constant gravitation of new people into the market. I think when new people come into the market, one of the first things that they do is turn to the media to be able to determine, Okay, where do I go, what’s happening this weekend. And so for that reason, I think that especially in a market like Austin, with over 120 people per day moving to the city, radio stations helped keep the pulse of the marketplace. But I think digital streaming is also something that has an offering, you could have your favourite DJ and your morning drive. And then during midday, you want to work out and streams, you know, some of the best workout music. So I think there’s multiple touchpoints. But I think they all work together. And so you have to hit the consumer all parts of the day, regardless of what they’re doing on their smartphone, on their tablet, through their television set in their car. So there’s lots of ways I mean, it’s endless. Yeah,

Charlie Cadbury 11:15
well, it comes back to what you said earlier, you know, you need to have a really good understanding of what their what their day looks like, and then cater to them where they are. Now you know, what, you know, championing the future of the industry. And if you were, you know, just leaving college now and wouldn’t really wants to get into this industry, what would your advice be to people who want to want to one day be where you’re sitting,

Christine Escobar 11:35
I would say to be open minded, to be innovative, to not be afraid to ask questions, and suggest new things to try. Not everybody knows the answers. And I think the industry wants new fresh individuals, who are the consumers to get their perspectives of how can we better market our organisation? How can we market our stations? How can we then market our clients? And I think, you know, constant networking, social sites, and then talking to people right I think technology sometimes has caused us to have our face in the screen far too often and we have to make sure that that interaction between people is there and and that we show that we can be a loyal person of the company that we’re we’re starting to work for

Charlie Cadbury 12:22
I really couldn’t agree more. I do not often say that the most interesting people online have to be the most interesting people offline. Right? Easy, but you’ve got you’ve got to show up offline. Sure. It’s gonna show up online, right? Absolutely. No, I agree. And so you know, just just in wrapping up, if people want to know a little bit more about you and the station right where it’s Western they can they look.

Christine Escobar 12:42
So we are proud to be in the capital of Texas in Austin, Texas. As I mentioned, you can find us on the dial one Oh 7.7 which is our mod station, Spanish hits or one Oh 4.3 which is our Mexican regional station on the dial que buena and we also have our dot two which is one a 4.3 dot two which is our sports radio station, home of the Austin FC soccer broadcasts. So it’s an exciting place to be

Charlie Cadbury 13:10
brilliant. Let thanks so much for carving out some time in your busy day. I’m really enjoying the conversation. Thank

Christine Escobar 13:14
you. Likewise. All right.