Radio Ink Magazine

RADIO EXECUTIVE of the YEAR DAVE RAMSEY

Dave Ramsey started as a co-host on a Nashville radio station that was in bankruptcy, back in 1992. By 1996, he was syndicating his show — self-syndicating his show, one station at a time. “Death by a thousand cuts,” he calls it. Today, Ramsey’s show is heard on over 600 radio stations across the country.

Ramsey Solutions employs 950 people, and the network has seven hosts. The 223,000-square-foot Ramsey campus sits on 47 acres in Franklin, Tennessee, and a second building is now under construction. Once it’s finished, the two connected buildings will be more than 400,000 square feet. Phase three of Ramsey HQ will be a 50,000-square-foot conference center.

Here’s our interview with Radio Ink’s Radio Executive of the Year, Dave Ramsey.

Radio Ink: How has the pandemic impacted you personally?

Ramsey: It scared the crud out of us concerning the impact it had on our business and the families that work for us. We love them. The economic shutdown scared me more personally than the virus did. We’ve had to scramble, fight, and push back from a chaotic mess to keep things moving and keep these families fed.

Radio Ink: What adjustments did you make to keep things rolling?

Ramsey: It was an emotional and financial adjustment, redesigning ways to serve our listeners and customers as quickly as we could. We had entire segments of our business, like live events, just disappear in a fairly short amount of time. We had the Ramsey cruise sold out for a year, and our sail date was March 23 — the worst possible date you could’ve been out on a boat. It didn’t sail. That was a $15 million top line that evaporated. We had to make sure everyone got their refunds.

Then they started dropping like flies, and we had to send everyone home for six weeks. We’re all back in the office now.

Entire segments were disappearing on the one hand, and on the other we in leadership are working every day trying to figure out a way to replace that revenue. We found ways to serve our customer base and ended up OK, but it was tenuous.

Radio Ink: When you realized this wasn’t going to be a short-term thing, how did you redesign the business? How do you manage through that?

We have a 14-person operating board. These are the actual people who work, lead, and run the business. We had them and five or six more in a room and started every day with two hours of updates — updates on revenue from the last 24

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