Commercial radio stations make money by selling space on something you can’t see. Luckily, you can hear radio. But, once you have heard something on the radio, it’s gone – forever. And, unless you were recording it there’s no evidence it ever existed.
So, in effect: radio salesmen take money to “broadcast” something you can’t see (“commercials”) out over something else you also can’t see (“airwaves”). Then, at the end of each month the sales department provides advertisers with something they can see: an invoice.
Radio stations can “make” as many commercials as they wish. In this way, they are very much like the U.S. Government which can make as many dollars as it wishes by emailing the U.S. Mint and saying, “Another billion please. We want to bailout Dairy Queen.”
Oddly, radio station sales departments refer to the fleeting commercials which appear for :15, :30, or :60 seconds as “inventory”. Notice you can’t spell “inventory” without using the word “invent” - which is what sales people do with “inventory”.
A Condensed History of Snake Oil and Sales People in America
Early sales people in our country traveled around in covered wagons selling and making big claims about snake oil, worthless elixirs, and other bottles of nasty-tasting liquids which basically had no medicinal value whatsoever. Eventually, these people were either run out of town, tarred and feathered, or dragged away in handcuffs. Today, we call them "Sales Managers".
But, Sales Managers would rather be called “Vice Presidents of Market Clusters” and sales people under them prefer to be called Account Executives – which strike many odd since they usually can’t account for where they’ve been most of the day.
Now, there are two kinds of Account Executives: the kind you always see and the kind you never see. Both are inherently dangerous.