In the 1950s, advertisers and media buyers believed if you bought a 50,000-watt AM station in each of Ohio’s major cities, you had the state “covered.” Seeing an opportunity in the spring of 1956, Leonard F. Auerbach, driving, as he put it, his “old jalopy” around Ohio, visited Radio station owners in smaller towns He sold them on the idea that combining the audiences of many stations in one “package” would increase their importance to advertisers and bring the stations increased revenue. With 17 Radio stations in the fold, Len opened the doors of Ohio Stations Representatives in July 1956.
In 1962, Len hired Jack DeHaven to open Penn Stations Representatives in Pittsburgh and in 1964 Don O. Hays opened the Cincinnati office for the company, now re-named Regional Reps Corp. Don repeated Len’s journey, this time in Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia. Shortly afterward, Len sold the Pittsburgh office and Jack DeHaven moved on to a successful corporate career with Susquehanna Broadcasting. By the end of the decade Regional Reps represented hundreds of small market stations in Ohio, and the surrounding states.
Len decided to move to Florida In 1971, relocating the company’s headquarters to St. Petersburg. In 1980, following a stint as an account executive and sales manager at Nationwide Communication’s “Kiss 100 FM” (now WGAR), Stuart J. Sharpe joined Regional Reps as regional manager of the Cleveland office. When Len decided to retire in 1985, Stuart and Rebecca, his wife, purchased the company and returned the corporate offices to Cleveland.
In 1987, Atlanta was becoming an extremely vibrant market for both Radio stations and advertising agencies that bought time for regional and national accounts. Sensing an opportunity, Stuart lured Jack DeHaven, now retired from Susquehanna and living in Atlanta, to re-join the company. Jack repeated Len and Don Hays’ travel routine, crisscrossing Georgia, persuading owners of dozens of small market stations to “hire” Regional Reps. Since then, Regional Reps has opened offices in Dallas, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
In 2008, Shayna Sharpe, daughter of Stuart and former Account Manager, returned to the company after tenures with Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia) and Arbitron (now Nielsen). On February 18th, 2015, Stuart celebrated 30 years of owning the company. Shayna was named Chief Executive Officer, the third person at the helm in the company’s history. The current management team also includes President Jeff Slivka and Vice President of Client Services Mandee Kalinowski.
Today, Regional Reps Corp. is one of the oldest and largest Radio station sales representatives in the country. The company has offices in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and New York. In addition to its represented stations Regional Reps, with its “trusted resource” status with hundreds of media buying decision makers across the country, delivers revenue to thousands of Radio stations each year. Significantly, the company still represents more than half of the 17 stations Len Auerbach started with in 1956!