How to Retail Radio, J. C. Milton, 1922, pages 67-79:

CHAPTER  VII

WHERE  TO  LOOK  FOR  RADIO  CUSTOMERS

 
hospital radio
    Hospital wards and convalescent rooms offer a market for a set or two, not to mention extra "head-pieces." In this hospital patients are listening to a Sunday morning service in a church many miles distant.
    "WHERE do you look for radio customers?" the manager of a large radio department in a big city was asked. With a quiet smile, he replied, "Why man alive, we don't look for them. They come to us. Surely it doesn't require much exercise of the imagination to tell where to find radio customers."
    There were eight men in the department beside himself and at the time all eight were busy with customers.
    The manager went on, "All we have done was to advertise that we sold radio sets and the customers have come. But from the various customers we have sold I can tell you where to look. I'll simply tell you of a few installations we have made of sets we have sold and let you draw your own conclusions.
    "A month ago," the manager went on, "the city council passed an appropriation for the installation of sets in five fire stations in various sections of the city. The discussion that preceded the vote proposed the installation for two reasons, one from the standpoint of actual utility and the other from the standpoint of relaxation and entertainment for the firemen themselves. You can easily see how welcome the innovation would be to men who were constantly on duty and confined by the nature of their work to so small an exercise and recreation space. The experiment has been so successful that sets for every one of the stations are now being considered. In fact the men themselves, in the stations which have not been supplied, have offered to club together to buy and install their own sets. See the possibility?

Police Department

    "Our police department stations have all had receiving sets installed. This was covered by special appropriation on the basis that it would aid in the police work of the entire country. For instance, it could be broadcasted from New York City that a certain criminal had escaped. The police in the large centers and even into many innermost rural districts could be simultaneously warned. Complete description could be given. In one operation the work would be done.
towboat radio
    To brighten up the lives of their crews, members of the New York Towboat Exchange have installed radio telephones on some of their craft: Instead of listening to the monotonous "chug-chug-chug" of the engine all day long, the crews will be entertained with music and humorous stories, and on Sundays, perhaps may hear a sermon if they wish. Every dealer can find a similar "unexpected" market for radio, if he has eyes to see it.


Hospitals, Too

    "Just last week the superintendent of the John Carroll Memorial Hospital purchased a powerful set for installation in the convalescent ward. A room had already been fitted up as an auditorium. The set had been installed and convalescent patients have been enjoying its use for the last couple of days. The superintendent further told me that plans had been made for broadcasting lectures by famous physicians and surgeons. It was part of the plan that doctors, internes and nurses were to receive, regularly, constructive talks on various phases of their professions. The plan is comprehensive enough to include the smallest outlying rural hospitals.
    "One large concern, with 389 branch houses in various sections of the country is considering the advisability of installing receiving sets in each branch. The plan is to broadcast, at a certain hour every day, sales instructions and various messages of general information to all of their branches simultaneously. Plans include meetings of all salesmen on Saturday afternoons for sales talks, advertising promotion and other subjects.

Boats, and Clubs and Hotels

    "One steamship company operating seven boats on the Great Lakes has equipped every boat with receiving sets and amplifiers. We have also sold sets to tugboats.
    "Naturally, dealers who are looking into the radio field for the first time think only of home installations. But we have found that that is the smallest part of our actual market. We have had at least a dozen persons in here in the last two weeks looking for sets which they could buy and install at reasonable cost in their summer cottages. We have supplied several summer hotels with sets. We have sold them to schools and Y. M. C. A.'s for educational purposes. A certain boat club has installed a splendid set. Three of our leading hotels and two restaurants have purchased their sets from us and without solicitation. One yacht club and two automobile clubs are contributing to the entertainment of their members with regular programs taken from the air. We have sold to orphan asylums and other charitable institutions. And, this may amuse you, we sold John Karokis, a set for his ten-chair shoe shining parlor.
shoeshine radio
    Waiting while your shoes are shined is tedious work at best, and the customer as a rule, stares vacantly at the ceiling. A radio set has been installed by an enterprising bootblack of San Francisco. One wonders what happens when the national anthem is played.

    "Bear in mind that these are much larger and better sales than the average home sets we sell. The sets are higher priced. They include amplifiers and all the trimmings that make for the best service.
    "I could go on for an hour and without repeating tell you of the unlimited possibilities for radio sales. I am really ashamed to say that in this department we have not scratched the surface. The business is developing so rapidly along normal lines, without pushing, that we are hard put to keep up with it. Everywhere you look, within the bounds of intelligent imagination there is a prospect for the sale of radio sets. Church organizations, literary societies, libraries, clubrooms, lodge rooms, industrial organizations--why, do you know there is one firm in this city which employs upwards of 1,250 people in its general office that claims that within the two months since the installation of a high-quality receiving set they have increased the efficiency of their workers at least ten per cent. It has paid for itself twice over. The largest public dance hall in the city is now using radio as one of its biggest advertising and drawing features. The management has discontinued the use of the claptrap favors usually distributed in such a place and the receipts have been growing steadily every week."
    There is a market for radio! Not only in the city but in every nook and corner of this big country. And what a market! If one looks around him he will be amazed at the sales opportunities he can find, despite the passing of the "craze."

In Small Town and Village

    About a week after the talk with the big store manager, the writer walked into a general store in a little Iowa town about two hundred and fifty population. While waiting for the proprietor to finish with a customer, he took stock of his surroundings. One whole corner of the store was taken up with radio sets and supplies. Evidently here, too, was a dealer who believed in the future of radio.
farmer listening to radio
    When the chores are all finished a long evening may be a tiresome evening for the farmer, unless he owns a radio set. Because of the government's wireless news, time, and crop reports, farmers are excellent prospects for complete and easily operated receiving sets. And the farmer's boy will buy "parts" for his own evening's tinkering.

    When the dealer had finished--and you could tell he was a man who made his living by barter and trade in a rural community--the same question was put to him. And he smiled too when he answered, "Well, to tell the truth, I haven't looked much. Somehow I just knew there was bound to be a demand for sets. You see I got interested myself. And I knew that what interested me would interest the other fellow. When I put radio in I knew it would sell. And it has.
    "Why every farmer in this hog-raising, corn-growing country wants radio. He wants the same entertainment and amusement his city brothers have. He wants the prices on grain, livestock and produce. Radio gives it to him. It gives him something to do in the evening. It will help him keep his boys and girls at home, on the farm, satisfied. Radio is just one more of the modern conveniences that brings him all the pleasures and advantages of city life and still allows him the health of his open-air farm life. It does more. It helps him run his farm on a strictly business basis by giving him quicker, surer communication with the outside world.
    "Yet while the farmer offers me a big field he isn't the only prospect I have. For instance we have a mighty progressive woman's club in our little village. They have already bought a set and for want of a club room of their own have installed it in the parlors of the First Presbyterian Church. I suppose if they hadn't bought it that I could have looked to the young people's society in the church, sooner or later, to buy one of their own.
    "Before the Woman's Club bought their set--they raised the money, through a couple of suppers, to buy a good one--they considered putting one in the village library.
    "I expect to sell fifty receiving sets of various kinds in the next six months. And after I've sold all my little community will stand, I'll still be making a profit on the supplies. Then there is a prospect of repeat business in radio too, that mustn't be overlooked. I find that some of my people are already wanting a better set than the one they have. It only takes a little while for them to realize that the most pleasure can be gained from the use of stronger sets and once they get interested they want the best.
    "I took on radio in this general store because I felt that there was a big field for it. And most of all I took it on because I could see that the mail order houses couldn't take all the business away from me. They may sell receiving sets to people who trade with me, but they can't sell the supplies and they can't sell the repairs. When a man wants radio parts he wants them right away. He doesn't want to wait, even a day, for parts to come from the city. His set must be in working order for the time and a matter of a few cents that he might save doesn't make any difference.
school class
    Washington, D. C., schools were among the first schools to realize the importance of teaching radio along with the many other studies. The physics class, Central High School, were photographed while they were receiving the daily radio messages sent out from the Bureau of Standards.

    "Yes, the big reason why my customers will trade with me instead of with the mail order houses, is because radio is a business that requires real service. It didn't take me long to find out that to keep up with the business I had to keep up on radio. When my customers want information, they want it right away. And they would rather have it direct from me than by mail from someone else. It's hard for the average man to keep up with radio. And about all the average man wants is to know that his set is in working order and that he can depend upon someone close at hand to help him keep that way. Nine out of ten of the men that come in here are interested in radio but only about one out of the nine knows anything about it. I have to keep up so that I can tell him."
    Mr. Barnard, the proprietor, went on to say that because every man who entered his store was interested in radio he considered him a potential buyer, but not alone the men--the women as well and the children in particular. Through them he had started the idea of saving money for the installation of a fine receiving set for the standard school outside the little town and had likewise interested their farmer fathers in helping them out.
    The village pool room had also been approached by him with the idea of receiving early returns of sporting events.
    This set would have been installed had he not previously sold a set to the weekly newspaper that circulated through the county. The paper he considered in duty bound, as a part of its service to the community, to render an up-to-date radio service. He sold the set on that basis. "I explained to them," he said, "that as long as first-hand news could be had, it wasn't fair to the readers to make them wait a whole week for news or to depend upon outside city papers for old news.

Why the Farmers Want Radio

    "And," he concluded, "Radio surely means big things for us, here in the country. We used to count the distance to the big cities in miles. Now we count it in minutes. Motion pictures and automobiles went a long way toward putting us on a par with town folks for entertainment and education but radio will finish the job."
automobile radio
    Even the vacation-time automobile tour becomes all the more fascinating when the radio tourists can, at any point enroute "listen in" on the busy messages of the commercial and maritime world threading the ether all about them. The picture shows such a radio-equipped car. The automobile engine drives the 500-volt direct-current generator which supplies energy to the radio set.


Where the Market Will Grow

    The fact that there is a market for radio assures its future. An assured future means an even more rapid development toward the perfection of radio apparatus than ever before. And as radio itself is improved the scope of the market will grow even wider.
    This was brought out forcibly by an executive of a large business house.
    "When," he said, "radio with the start it already has, receives the further thought and scientific development of the next few months it will be completely adapted for many kinds of commercial enterprises that do not employ it as yet. It will become as necessary as transportation. It will be communication personalized. There will be no limit to its use. In a few years it will be impossible for big business to get along without radio telephony just as it would be impossible for it to get along without the telephone and the telegraph to-day. Science is working toward the end of excluding all waves sent on a certain wave length with the exception of the one desired by the receiver. Some day this will be fully accomplished. This is the all-important feature of commercial enterprises. It does not matter so much that others can listen in. Doubtless that will be solved also. And when private communication can be established, business will actually give radio its biggest impetus. Big firms will talk to their branches and their salesmen. Jobbers will talk to retailers. Brokers will talk to their clients. The possibilities are unlimited. While the sending outfits will no doubt be installed by experts from the big companies, the receiving sets will be sold by the dealers right on the field."
   It requires no stretch of the imagination to conceive of a medical or dental school maintaining a lecture service to its graduate students throughout every section of the country. Such plans are already more than talk. Steps have already been taken in that direction. Complete courses can be conducted. Doctors and dentists interested in keeping up with their professions will subscribe to such a course. And merchants everywhere will supply the doctors and dentists with receiving sets.
    Note carefully the literature sent out and distributed by leading radio manufacturers. See how little they are given to romancing about the sales possibilities of radio. They talk cold facts about the market. They have plenty of facts to deal with.
    Another angle that must not be overlooked is the possibility of formal education in other than professional lines. Is it not practical to think of institutions offering courses in certain subjects generally to the public? Here again the public presents definite sales prospects--people who would not be interested in installing radio sets for entertainment alone but who would for utility's sake be very much in the market. One of the country's leading correspondence school educators declared not long ago that his institution was looking forward to the time when it would be practical to extend their work into radio activity.
    With radio, as a science, nothing is impossible. With radio, as a business, nothing is impossible. The field is too broad for it to be necessary to set down in list form the many prospects. But even a brief summary emphasizes the opportunity for the radio dealer. For educational and entertainment sales; every American home, schools and colleges, students of schools and colleges, Y. M. C. A.'s and welfare organizations, hotels and restaurants, hospitals and institutions, pleasure clubs of various kinds, summer resorts and resorters, commercial firms that do welfare work for employees, lumber camps, and fishing and hunting camps. For commercial and governmental sales; business houses and their branches, farmers, police departments, fire departments, theaters, dance halls that install receiving sets for advertising purposes, newspapers and news receiving bureaus in general, amusement parks that install receiving sets as a paying feature, and railroad and steamship companies that include radio as part of their service.
    Simply looking over such a list will suggest many unlooked-for possibilities to the far-seeing radio dealer. And dealers with enthusiasm born of confidence and good business sense are, every day demonstrating how easy it is to find customers.