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Salem Communications Corporation Interview
Questions

30 Questions and Answers by
| Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.

Question 1 of 30

What expertise do you bring in digital KPIs and analytics?

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Salem Communications Corporation Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    What expertise do you bring in digital KPIs and analytics?

      Be prepared to discuss with the interviewer the types of digital KPIs and analytics you are accustomed to tracking. Some critical KPIs in the world of digital content creation may include analytics around reach; including unique visits. Engagement rates; including time spent on your page, ad, or video. You may also look at the number of engaged comments or social sharing rates. Talk to the interviewer about the KPIs that you currently work with, and why you believe they are essential to track.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "In my current role, the numbers that I care about the most include our sentiment rates. I look at the number of comments and engagement. I like to see soaring numbers when it comes to social media shares or @ tags. Nothing feels as great as seeing your digital content go viral, and I look forward to achieving more of that in my career with Salem Media."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "When it comes to digital KPIs, my current employer puts a significant focus on social sharing and engaged comments. When digital content is good, viewers will quickly share without hesitation. When engagement rates are high, it's a quick indicator that your content is on point."

  2. 2.

    In your opinion, what is the future of local radio?

      Talk to the interviewer about your opinion on local radio, and it's future. Remain positive and avoid bashing any forms of media or sounding like a doomsayer. Keep in mind that Salem owns around 115 radio stations in total.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Local radio has changed a great deal over the years, especially with the launch of services such as Sirius Radio and other satellite services. It certainly hasn't made it obsolete as many predicted. I think the introduction of competition can be a good thing. It forces local radio to become more progressive and engaging. I believe this trend will continue for many years to come."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I recently read an article that radio may be obsolete in the nearer future because of its inability to connect with Generation Z. This generation makes up nearly half of all consumers in the United States. So, the future of radio may be grim if we cannot find a way to make connections with the modern consumer."

  3. 3.

    What radio stations do you have as your presets?

      Chances are, you listen to the radio in the car, at work, or while you're getting ready for your day. Of course, the interviewer wants to hear that you listen to a Salem Media radio station now and then. There is no need to be dishonest if you don't tune into one of their stations; however, try getting some time in as a listener before your interview.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "My top three go-to radio stations are Classic Rock 101 FM, The Vibe 96.7 and Salem's Fish 104.7! I have Fish 104.7 as a present in my car because the contemporary Christian music uplifts my day. I also really like the radio personalities on that station. They are so entertaining and engaging."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Of course, Salem stations are in my presets! My favorites are Today's Christian Music 98.5, and The Fish Seattle and because the radio personalities do such a great job keeping me entertained between songs. I listen to the radio in my car all the time. Volume up, windows down, wind in my hair!"

  4. 4.

    In your opinion, what is the difference between marketing and advertising?

      There are terms in the publishing industry that are similar; however, the interviewer wants assurance that you fully understand the semantics. Briefly discuss what you believe to be the most significant difference between marketing and advertising.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "To me, the most significant difference between marketing and advertising is that advertising is simply one component of an entire marketing plan. The term marketing encompasses topics such as public relations, distributions, sales, market research, and more."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Marketing refers to an entire plan when it comes to approach and distribution. Advertising is simply one facet of a marketing plan."

  5. 5.

    Salem Radio Network controls a variety of radio stations. List a few of these for me.

      This question is meant to test the amount of research you did on Salem Media before your interview. If you go into the meeting to 'wing it'; chances are, a question like this will reveal how engaged you are in the interview process. Most media companies run a variety of radio stations and, in Salem's case, they have over 115 of them! Bonus points if you mention a radio station of theirs that you listen to most often.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I understand that Salem Radio Network has an interest in a variety of media solutions, including over 115 radio stations across sectors such as SRN Talk, SRN 24 Hour Christian Music, and SRN News. The station that I am most familiar with, and listen to in my car every day is Singing News Radio. I appreciate the uplifting and energetic Southern Gospel music. There is a lot of variety, and the commercial-free hour while I am on my commute home from work!"

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Salem Radio Network has an impressive radio portfolio which includes Today's Christian Music, Singing News Radio, and The Word in Praise. I was most impressed to read that you recently won awards for your Sirius XM Christian Talk radio station. I look forward to joining your successful Christian media powerhouse."

  6. 6.

    Do you believe paid social campaigns are useful for promoting book releases, and if so, why?

      The interviewer asks this question because as social media platforms mature, they are becoming a more significant part of promoting book releases, and other publications that may not even had a digital focus. Most publishers have recognized how social media can further enhance their targeting and reach when it comes to book promotions. As part of a progressive publishing house, it's essential to know why paid social promotions are helpful.

      If you take the position that paid ad campaigns are not useful, your answer will be considered to be wrong. While paid campaigns don't always deliver perfect results, sponsored content gains priority over that which is not.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I believe that paid social platforms are more important than ever, and while having a good audience and engagement helps increase your content's visibility organically, it's almost impossible to achieve the same results through organic reach only. A paid campaign is useful in restoring that visibility. It can also be beneficial to run paid campaigns because the social media platforms provide tools to analyze their progress, make adjustments to them as you go, and monitor your ROI."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "In recent years, it has become clear that social media platforms prefer paid campaigns versus organic reach. Algorithms set by the platforms often do not allow a company's content to be seen on their audience's feeds without paying for it to appear to certain members. Now, this is where a publisher can benefit from paid advertising the most. With a paid campaign, they essentially tap into the platform's data on their users by specifying the demographic their content will be visible to. This enables them to engage only with people that are likely to be interested in their publications or latest book releases."

  7. 7.

    Have you ever managed or helped with a content budget? If so, what type of budgets are you accustomed to working with?

      Before your interview, take some time to gather data related to the budgets you have worked with, and the times when you have come in under budget. This way, you will be prepared with specifics when asked about your budgetary experience.

      The interviewer wants to see that you have great insight when it comes to being budget conscious. Appropriate planning is one of the keys to a successful project, so be sure to discuss the steps that you take to plan a project's dollar spend carefully.

      Every dollar counts, even if you are working for a large company like Salem Media! If you do not have experience in budget management, refer to the fact that you are responsible and resourceful.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Most of the budgets that I have worked within spread amongst a variety of digital production and creative costs. I have worked on budgets as small as $5,000 and as large as $15M. No matter the size of the budget, it's incredibly important that I treat every dollar as though it's my own; being wisely allocated and accounted for."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Although my experience does not yet include budget management, I have made recommendations on cost savings when it comes to content writing, video production, and talent acquisition. I feel that with the right training, and some more work experience, I will be ready to assist with content budgeting in no time."

  8. 8.

    What is the difference between a publisher's frontlist and backlist?

      In publishing, a frontlist is a list of a publisher's newly published book titles. A backlist is a list of a publisher's older books. The backlist is usually a book that is off the bestseller list and has been in print for more than a year. The interviewer wants to see that you understand these terms, which are pretty basic in the publishing industry. Keep your answer simple and, if possible, give specific examples from books that are currently on the Salem publishers' frontlist and backlist.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I understand the frontlist to be newly published book titles where a backlist would be books that have been in print for about a year or more. For instance, Salem's publisher, Xulon Press, has 'Miracles Have Not Ceased' by Leslie Miller on the frontlist at the moment, and titles such as 'Pebbles from God's Courtyard' from 2010 are on your backlist."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Right now, I would guess that 'The America Project' is on the frontlist since it was recently published, and featured on the front page of the Xulon Press website; where 'I Saw Heaven' is on your backlist because its initial publication was in 2010. Generally speaking, a newly published book will be on the frontlist where a book over a year in print will fall onto the backlist."

  9. 9.

    Who is your favorite author, and why?

      There is no right or wrong way to answer this question! Unless you do not know any author names off hand, which could turn out disastrous since you're interviewing for a book publisher! Think of your favorite author and be prepared to discuss on a meaningful level, why you appreciate their work. Giving a surface-level answer would be the wrong thing to do here.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "My all-time favorite author is Stephen King because of his incredible success. He's become the figurehead for suspense, horror, and supernatural fiction. On top of selling over 350 million copies of his books, many of these have become films, comic books, and television series. It's incredible what he has accomplished."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "From the time I was a kid, and still today, my favorite author is Judy Blume. She wrote young adult fiction that rubbed a lot of parents the wrong way, back in the 1980s and 1990s. She created this whole genre that came with important conversations that were once taboo. Decades later, she remains incredibly relevant in her space with many authors trying to emulate her style."

  10. 10.

    How would you solicit new advertising business for our radio stations?

      Most media companies like Salem hire account executives who are in charge of new business development, advertising, client acquisition, and prospecting. Discuss with the interviewer what you would do to drum up new advertising business for their radio station. There is no real right or wrong answer here, as the interviewer simply wants to see that you have a mind for sales and where Salem can grab onto new opportunities.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "If I were an account executive or business development professional for Salem I would first research who your target customer was, and then generate a list of businesses who have the same target customer. For instance, if your target customer is 16-25-year-old women, I would figure out which local businesses were geared to this demographic, also, and which ones aligned with the conservative Christian messaging of Salem Media. Then, I would do some good old-fashioned door knocking to generate some sales!"

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I believe in all things digital these days, so I would go to Google Trends and find out which topics were trending in my area, and to Salem Media's target audience. From there, I would create a list of valued-aligned businesses related to these trends. I would approach them with this data, encouraging them to advertise on our station since we shared a target market."

  11. 11.

    In a streaming-centric time, how can Salem increase the number of listeners to our radio stations?

      The interviewer would like to know what your approach would be, should you be the decision maker on how to draw in a more extensive audience base. Before your interview, take the time to research some radio marketing ideas, read some case studies, or dissect the approach of your favorite radio station that you know is nailing it in the radio game. Your plan doesn't have to be air-tight, but it should be thoughtful and engaging.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "If I were in charge of increasing the listenership of a Salem owned radio station, I would cross-promote with other stations. This approach is one that is common in satellite radio, and from what I have seen, is very effective in traditional radio as well."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Three words: contests, contests, contests! I was listening to a station in the past that offered a $10K prize on the first of every month. Stats show that this contest increased their listenership by a whopping 27% by the second month. This contest was very generous; however, the upside from their advertisers far outweighed the cost of running the monthly promotion."

  12. 12.

    How would you increase magazine subscriptions in an online-centric world?

      In a world immersed in online content, the hiring authority would like to know how you would capture the interest of new magazine subscribers. Discuss one idea you have that would help print subscriptions to stand out in an online world.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Print media is still very relevant, especially when a publication attracts a particular niche. In an online-centric world, I would place focus on the nostalgia that comes from reading your favorite magazine, along with the fact that Salem has been a trusted magazine publisher for many years."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Many people love the offering of traditional magazines such as the nostalgia of flipping through the pages, getting something exciting in the mail, and reading the coupons and other inserts. To increase magazine subscriptions, I would focus on those offerings, that are not as convenient with online methods."

  13. 13.

    How do you think that online media has changed traditional print and broadcast media approaches in the past 10 years?

      This industry is ever-changing, and all types of media outlets have been scrambling to keep up with the introduction of online media. Talk to the interviewer about your insights when it comes to the changes you have witnessed in traditional media since the introduction of online media.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Online media has changed the way we digest information. Most people look for content online because it's fast and we can read the opinions of others which helps us to form our own. This content is both convenient and dangerous at times as it doesn't necessarily promote free thought. I think that traditional print media has become lighter and more entertainment-driven because of this."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I believe that online media has rapidly increased the amount of content that we feel we need in a day. Where it used to be that our parents would watch or read the local news once every morning or evening, we are now constantly logging in, and looking for updates on stories that may not even directly affect us. This response means that newspapers are often struggling with sales, and we have global 24/7 news channels."

  14. 14.

    Where do you believe the magazine industry will be in 5 years? Support your response.

      The interviewer wants to know that you believe in the longevity of Salem Media and the future of the magazine industry. Of course, since you are interviewing for a magazine publication, you want to keep your response positive. Be sure to support your opinion with the research you have done in the magazine publishing industry.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I was recently reading an article on trends and facts in the magazine industry, from a journalism publication which had some powerful ideas on the future of magazines. Even though the purchase of physical magazines has declined over the past 15 years, the number of visitors coming to a magazines' website had increased exponentially. I believe that alternative print publications will exist for many years to come; however, many mags will begin to rely more heavily on their digital subscriber base who still go to them for reliable, consistent, and trustworthy content."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I believe that magazine subscribers are also going to ask for digital subscription options, allowing them to pivot between the two mediums. Although sales of traditional print mags have decreased over the years, discerning readers will still turn to these traditional methods for reliable news. This engagement may be more digital and online, as time goes on."

  15. 15.

    What are your thoughts on the way media is rated for the public (IE: PG, 14A, NR, Mature)?

      Salem Media focus' on family-friendly media content with a conservative Christian core message. Media ratings have changed a great deal over the years, and the interviewer would like to know your thoughts on this. Be sure to keep your answer productive and thoughtful.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Media ratings have most definitely loosened over the years. What used to be rated 14A is now often classified as PG. I feel this is because our kids and youth are exposed to so much more now than we ever were as kids and we are becoming desensitized. I do wish that some guidelines would remain tighter, especially surrounding violent content."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Because I am newer to this industry, I would need to conduct more analysis on media ratings before I could give you a fully researched answer. With that said, I feel that the majority of media I am exposed to seem to be rated adequately, and clearly. I think it's important for viewers and consumers to easily see ratings before making their decision on whether or not it's appropriate for them."

  16. 16.

    What has been the best short-form content project you have worked on this year?

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  17. 17.

    Market research is essential to Salem Media to help us understand where to take our business in the years to come. Rate your research skills from 1-10. Do you enjoy conducting research?

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  18. 18.

    Name for me your three favorite books, and why they are your favorite.

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  19. 19.

    What can Salem do best, for an up and coming Christian author?

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  20. 20.

    What are your salary expectations?

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  21. 21.

    How would you rate your performance in this interview so far?

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  22. 22.

    Describe to me what you believe to be our radio network's target audience.

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  23. 23.

    Describe to me the types of digital media you are most experienced with.

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  24. 24.

    In which area are you the strongest: editorial, book sales, or book marketing?

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  25. 25.

    What methods do you use, to work within a brand's voice consistently?

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  26. 26.

    What do you know about the nature of print advertising?

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  27. 27.

    What are the benefits for an author to publish with Salem's labels versus self-publishing?

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  28. 28.

    Walk me through your experience in the radio industry.

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  29. 29.

    In your opinion, what is the most influential form of media today?

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  30. 30.

    How would you increase printed book sales in an online-centric world?

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