Target Broadcast Sales was founded September 1, 1976 by Richard Sienko and his wife Donna. When founded it was a division of RA Sienko Ltd. but later the name was changed to Target Broadcast Sales Inc.
When Target was formed, its purpose was to represent secondary market stations for all revenue opportunities at the national, regional and client direct level. Its only sales rep was Richard “Dick” Sienko, and Donna looked after the books and did the billing from home.
When it opened, its client list of stations included CFBV AM Smithers, CFLO AM Burns Lake, CJCI AM Prince George, CHNL AM Kamloops, CKIQ AM Kelowna, CJAT AM Trail, CKEK AM Cranbrook, and CFEK AM Fernie. These were sold individually or as a group under the name of BC Target. In Ontario Target represented CFTJ AM Galt. Within a month of opening it picked up radio station CJAV AM Port Alberni, CKLQ AM Brandon and its first TV station – WUTV TV Buffalo NY.
Late November 1976, Target got its first big break: an opportunity to pitch a group of 22 small independent radio stations in Quebec that sold under the name of Group Un. The presentation was successful and in January 1977 Target opened an office in Montreal with George Hellman as manager. In the first year Target added an assistant, Irene Guiliano, who when George transferred to Toronto became the sales rep/manager. Irene became Canada’s first national female sales representative. Two years later, Target changed the name of the office to Radio Unie Quebec.
In early 1977, Target was approached by US oldest radio sales firm, Katz Radio, to represent its US radio stations for any Canadian radio opportunities. It accepted the opportunity and has repped US radio ever since.
At the beginning of operation, Target Broadcast Sales rented space from Andy McDermott Sales, in Toronto. In May 1977, Target moved into its own office space with secretary Pierrette Desloges and first Toronto sales addition, Mark Simpson.
Target continued to expand its station list with new licensed independently owned radio stations as well as picking up stations from competitors. During this period Target’s reputation as a non major market specialist grew. Management and staff visited most of the markets they represented, passing on local market information to agencies and clients. The practice of staff visiting markets still continues today.
In addition to mainstream stations Target expanded into representing specialty broadcasters such as Ethnic, Aboriginal, Campus and Christian formatted stations.
As the industry changed, Target moved into Network radio sales but with automation this opportunity disappeared. In addition, Target has sold Syndicated Radio and Television programs. For a period of time, Target also sold billboards in Western Canada for privately owned operators.
Because of the success in selling WUTV Buffalo, the company expanded its border TV client list to 10 stations, all with sizable Canadian audiences. In 1987 Target spun these stations into a separate TV rep firm AirTime Television. Then in 1992 Target sold its interest in that company and concentrated its efforts on Radio representation.
As Target had no interest in opening in Vancouver it formed an association with Western Broadcast Sales, but then when Ray Dagg opened Target Media Sales in 1979 and was representing the same British Columbia stations as Target, Target became associated with Ray and Target Media. In 1991 Ray sold the company to WIC, which became a founding partner in Canadian Broadcast Sales as Corus Radio. Target was affiliated with CBS till March 1994 when it opened its own office in Vancouver to represent its expanded list of radio stations. This gave Target 3 offices across Canada representing over 150 stations in Canada and over 1000 in the US.
In September 2006 Target again took advantage of an opportunity and opened an office in Halifax to service Atlantic Canada agencies and clients. In addition to handling Target’s full list of radio stations, this office also handled advertising sales for Rink Boards in Atlantic Canada.
When Target opened its office in 1976 there were 12 radio representative companies operating in Canada. Due to takeovers, mergers, and consolidation of broadcast ownerships the radio rep industry dwindled to 4 national firms and a couple of regional reps. Target contributed to this consolidation by taking over Andy McDermott Sales in Toronto, then owned by Emery Richmond, and Frank Jobes’ regional office in Vancouver. Target is one of the surviving companies and today is the oldest of the radio rep firms. At this time, the competitors are Canadian Broadcast Sales owned by Rogers Broadcasting and Corus Radio; Astral Radio Plus owned by Astral Media and CHUM Radio Sales, soon to be owned by Bell Media.
In 1997 Stephen Sienko, joined Target Broadcast Sales. Born in Toronto, Stephen went through the French Emersion program in Scarborough and has an Honours Political Science degree from University of Western Ontario. As part of his sales training Stephen graduated from the only radio representative program created and operated by Interep in New York. Then to add to his knowledge of local radio in Canada he did “in market” training in Prince George, Kamloops, Kelowna, Brandon, Owen Sound and Saint John, plus time in the Vancouver and Montreal offices of Target.
For a period of time, the three Sienkos worked together at the firm but in 2003 Donna decided to retire but continued as Secretary Treasurer and Director of Target Broadcast Sales Inc.
In 2004 Stephen was appointed Vice President of the company and in 2006 became President. In August 2007 he purchased the company from Richard and Donna Sienko, becoming sole owner of Target Broadcast Sales Inc. Richard became Chairman and semi-retired.
In November 2010, Target created a new division, Direct Media Sales, to sell radio to direct clients in Canada and the United States on behalf of its client roster which now consisted of over 200 Canadian Radio stations and over 3000 radio stations in the US.
Because of the changes in the industry, Target evolved from a firm specializing in secondary markets to representing stations in any Canadian Market regardless of size. This change can be seen by Target representing stations in 8 major markets. As well, Target has markets where they rep competitive broadcasters. Target represents major broadcast groups such as Blackburn Radio, Evanov Group, Haliburton Radio, Harvard Broadcasting, MY FM, and Pattison Broadcasting. Target has stations in every province and territory, in English and French languages, in specialized categories such as Ethnic, Aboriginal, campus, Christian and syndication. It still remains as the only privately owned radio representative.
Written by Richard Sienko – 2011