• Hal Stevenson on Site Development and How Digital Billboards are a Game-Changer

    Hal Stevenson, Head of Development, Grace Outdoor

    Grace Outdoor’s Hal Stevenson has learned a thing or two about finding new sites during 30-plus years in the out of home business.  Here’s what he told Insider on this week’s Billboard Insider Podcast.

    On Finding New Sites

    You’ve got to start with politics.  You’ve got to understand the way the ordinances have evolved over time, who the players are, what you might be able to do…I’ll give you a quick example.  Indian Land, South Carolina is a suburb of Charlotte…which is growing tremendously.  And I had a guy call me…who said can you get me a billboard.  And I went up there and there were no billboards…except for one.  And it was an old poster panel, looked like it was going to fall down.  And I just kept getting calls from people looking for something in that area…We converted that billboard to a double digital…and it’s probably our highest occupancy most successful sign and the Indiana land council president called after we had put it up…and she said “Hal that’s the best thing that’s happened in our community in years.”

    On how digital billboards are changing attitudes towards out of home.

    For a long time we were in the section of the ordinance with strip joints and video poker and all the unwanted things.  Litter on a stick and people hating you…But anecdotally when I talk to anybody now they say, “You know, I like those digital signs because they give me information that I actually want.  It’s not just a commercial message in my face.  I see when the local non-profit is having a fundraiser or the school event is coming up”…I think we’re in a place in the industry…where we can become within the community a vital part of it where people don’t hate us anymore.


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