Cathy Green is a believer in the five-year plan, and while it wasn’t always precisely implemented during her four-decade electronic media sales run in Tucson, it certainly set the stage for a multitude of employers along the way.
Her sales career includes stints with KOLD TV and numerous radio outlets, highlighted by KRQQ pre-Clear Channel, KTKT when it was a top-40 station, Jim Slone’s cluster of radio stations prior to their purchase by now-bankrupt Citadel Broadcasting, the Journal Broadcast Group, Slone a second time and Lotus, where she concluded her tenure this month, about five years after she was hired.
Green has been effective, and coveted, in her numerous stops largely because she’s stayed true to one mantra.
“What works for the client and what’s best for the clients,” said Green.
Even if that landscape has changed significantly with the advent of technology based advertising options. But whether it’s simple radio, or smart phone apps that tap into streaming or geo-fencing, which uses GPS to track the location of potential customers, thus offering spontaneous offers by area businesses, part of the process is determining what works and why.
In that regard, Green was a natural, even if sales wasn’t her initial career choice.
“I was working for a CPA firm downtown, and Taylor Advertising was next door and we shared a coffee machine,” Green recalled. “I got to know all the people in the advertising agency and thought, wow, this seems like a really fun place to work. In the meantime, the receptionist was leaving, so I went into my boss and asked if there would be any hard feelings if I applied for the job next door. I applied, got the job and a year later, after they split the media buying stuff up, I made contacts.
“I was the media buyer for five years, and Taylor at the time was the biggest independent ad agency in the state. We had some pretty big accounts, including O’Reilly Chevrolet, Pima Federal Savings and Loan, Arizona Office of Tourism, where I was buying in New York, Chicago, and the Arizona Lottery when they started up.”
At the five-year window, Green took a job with a local television station, and quickly got promoted to sales manager.
“I’m 30 years old and I’m the sales manager for all these guys who have been there forever, but it worked out well.”
“I worked for a General Manager once who thought cable TV was just a fad,” said Green. “When I heard that, I thought it must be time to get out of television, and by then I knew a lot more people in radio. Radio seemed like it was a lot more fun.”
It was fun for a while. Great even, especially while she worked for Slone, who owned country music station KIIM FM, among other signals. She envisioned jettisoning the five-year concept as a result of her time with Slone, but when he sold his station cluster for more than $60 million to Citadel Broadcasting, the corporate approach of new ownership just wasn’t going to work. She discovered that after one specific changeover meeting.
“They sent this guy in, Farid Suleman, and all it took was one meeting with that guy and I was out of here,” Green said. “They had us all wait in a conference room for him to arrive. After an hour they told us his plane had just landed, so we asked if we could just go back to work and you can tell us when he’s here, and they said no. We had to sit there until he arrived, and when he arrived all he talked about was how much money he made, how much money his kids had. How rude. I make pretty good money, but the receptionist here is making about $12,000 a year. That was the day I decided I’m not doing this. I like things local, and I don’t want to make money for someone like that. That’s when I went to Journal.”
With Suleman at the helm, Citadel bled money and eventually filed for bankruptcy. It was purchased by Cumulus Broadcasting, which currently oversees the cluster of stations in Tucson.
Green enjoyed her stint at Journal, but when Slone got back into the radio business with the purchase of a small AM, she jumped at the opportunity to work for him again. That went well for a couple years, until Slone sold that stick to Doug Martin. Once word got out she was on the market, former Lotus GM Steve Groesbeck called her that day and offered her a position there.
That was five years ago.
But while this chapter closes, it’s a good time to pursue other as yet undetermined ventures. Green wants to make it clear she’s only retiring from full-time sales.