After a 20 year career in radio (on-air, sales, sales management and eventually ownership and top management), with deregulation, the broadcast/radio industry had evolved from being locally owned and focused, to corporate-run, out-of-market (and out of touch) ownership, including a real clamp down on operations limiting drastically each station’s ability to be involved with or an integral, supportive influence in their local community. After riding the wave of several ownership changes in as many years, it was time for me to make a change.
Timing is everything. One day I was visiting with one of the station’s advertisers who had been discussing the problem he was having losing customers after putting them on hold. At that time (30+ years ago) it was very common for businesses to use the radio for their on hold entertainment, keeping customers preoccupied until they could get back to them on the phone. What our client was describing was the fact that his competitors frequently advertised on the radio and that by placing his customers on hold, he was actually introducing them to his competitor’s advertising. Believe it or not, some companies still do this!
The need to take control of the on hold environment was evident and eventually led to our crafting a series of messages and music, voiced and produced by our on-air (DJ), talent for a test run on our client’s phone system. This would replace the radio, eliminating the frequent exposure to the competitor’s advertising. We then sat back to see what might happen…
What happened made history. Not only was my client getting positive comments from customers, he was selling products and services mentioned on hold as well. Fortunately (for me), not only were his customers happy, he was fielding calls from distributors, manufacturers, bankers–all wanting to know more about this on hold ‘thing’ that they were hearing.
To answer all of those inquiries, I made the leap, leaving the broadcast industry; took a risk and started On-Hold Concepts, converting a wine cellar in the basement of our home to a recording studio and went to work. This was in 1987. A few years later I incorporated, began hiring help and it wasn’t long before we were able to move from our ‘home’ office to a formal office building where we installed recording studios and continued operation. We were in this location until early in 2016 when we moved to a beautiful new, architecturally designed building not far from our other offices where we make our home today. The business has continued to blossom beyond my wildest dreams.
Today we have somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 people working for us, including full and part time employees, voice talent and those that represent us in sales around the U.S. We’ve grown from a small recording studio located in the basement of our home to owning our own office building featuring three nicely equipped broadcast quality studios. In 2014, due to our expansion of services, we’ve changed the name of our company to Woodstock Media Group, which better represents the wider variety of products and services we now offer. On hold advertising continues to represent the majority of our business with thousands of customers in a wide range of industries scattered throughout North America. However, we additionally offer business-related entertainment and marketing products and services (environmental/ in-office music as well as video signage and we provide professional voicing services for a great variety of applications and in as many different languages.
Even though the company today enjoys clients in every industry imaginable, it is exciting to continue to be at the forefront of, and a leader in this ever-changing industry. It is gratifying to be in a position to assist businesses no matter their size with their marketing efforts. The past few years have been extremely tough on many businesses. The inexpensive and highly targeted on hold advertising concept is very affordable and has become an integral part of a business’ marketing scheme. It adds the necessary finishing touches to an advertising campaign by placing critical (and professional) messaging right where it counts, at the point of contact when the caller responds to a company’s advertising.
And of course it is rewarding to remain family owned and independent, providing a steady place of employment for people locally. One of my sons continues to work with us, my wife is Vice President of Sales, managing our sales efforts, but beyond that, many of the staff are like family, some having worked for us almost from day one. It really doesn’t get much better than this.
Updated October 16th, 2016.
Chuck Woodstock, Founder & President