The Carlson Media Group, LLC (CMG) was started in the fall of 2017. After a lifetime career in the corporate world selling livestock advertising, CMG President Jay Carlson started his own media sales company - focusing on serving targeted, niche beef cattle publications.
He started with representing a regional publication and a group of five leading beef breed association official publications. CMG now represents nine beef cattle publications with a combined coverage of 169,000 readers, one of the largest media buys for the beef industry in America. Advertisers view CMG as a one stop advertising shop where they are offered a smorgasbord buying approach – buy one or buy them all.
With the beef publishing industry’s recent paradigm shift to breeder ads making up the largest share of dollars spent on advertising versus commercial advertising of the past, starting CMG has become a perfectly timed business move. Jay jokingly shares that “it is better to be lucky than good” but in this case, he is both. It is CMG client policy for representation, all publications must have strong breeder advertising support which makes for thick prosperous-looking publications that generate excellent readership.
Jay grew up on a farm in NE Illinois in Homer Township. Jay prides himself in being forward thinking and innovative - which was also the case for another local Lockport resident, John Lane. Lane in 1834 developed the world’s first steel plow. Jay’s family raised beef cattle and quarter horses. Two uncles were nearby dairy farming, and Jay became well acquainted with hard work at an early age... especially during the summer haying season, which required hoisting 50 to 75 lb. bales onto the wagon and into the hayloft.
Life was good. As a youngster, he enjoyed the benefits of a great family along with involvement in 4-H and FFA. Success with his livestock projects reflected his development of strong animal husbandry skills. Travel to shows, livestock judging contests and the annual State FFA convention provided him with opportunities to develop his people meeting skills.
His college years were first spent at Joliet Junior College and then the University of Missouri. At Joliet, he was instrumental in starting the first judging team. While at junior college, he spent his sophomore year on the college ice hockey team. His enthusiasm was high but his skill set on the ice not so good. His agriculture fellow classmates wanted to give his career a little boost so they nicknamed him with a more Canadian-sounding name “Jay-Paul” replacing his given name Paul Jay. At the time, Canada was ahead of the United States in training hockey stars.
After junior college, he transferred to the University of Missouri where he joined the Greek fraternity, FarmHouse. He continued his livestock judging participation with his highest achievement being a “Top Ten” finish at the National Barrow Show in Austin, Minnesota. Later he student taught, and his high school judging team won the district. His greatest achievement at MIZZOU was meeting and marrying a Boonville, Missouri veterinarian’s daughter, who has been his wife for over 40 years.
During his college summer months, he worked in Indiana fitting show cattle for two of the prominent Angus breeders in Midwest. Daily activities included feeding, rinsing, exercising and cleaning stalls. When on the show road, sleeping accommodations were sparse to say the least; it was either in the fair barn or farm truck parked out near cattle night time tie outs. Showing cattle is very competitive, but with it comes important lessons of life: a strong work ethic, attention to detail, time management skills, and the ability to work with others.
Upon college graduation, Jay accepted a position with a national livestock publication selling breeder ads, reporting on show results, and attending sales which included writing sales reports. With his love for both livestock and the people who raise them, he developed many breeder friends from both the cattle and hog industries who remain close associates today. His travels took him to 17 states from which he built a huge “Real World Producer” database which sets him apart from other commercial advertising sales representatives today.
After years of travelling literally hundreds of thousands of miles and being on the road many weekends, he took a corporate transfer request into home office headquarters where he began his career selling commercial advertising. Over the next thirty years, he became one of the industry’s top advertising sales representatives. At a NAMA Convention he was honored with the agriculture industry’s top sales award for “Excellence in Sales” which included both livestock and crop industries.
Sought after as a proven leader and creative thinker, Jay has been active in many volunteer organizations including serving as President of local NAMA chapter, National NAMA Membership Chairman, six years on the Livestock Publication Council board, University of Missouri Ag Alumni board member and American Royal Livestock Committee which he still serves. He spent nearly ten years as the American Royal Junior College Livestock Judging Contest Superintendent. He has earned many additional awards along the way including being named to the University of Missouri prestigious Agriculture Alumni Leadership Society.
It is this lifetime of industry experience that advertisers find so beneficial when they are in need of ideas, contacts and advertising opportunities.