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My Favorite Year in Billboards

How I Crawled My Way Thru 2019

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My Favorite Year in Billboards

or How I Crawled My Way Thru 2019



by Nick Coston, OOH Media Buyer & Agent



2019 was my all-time favorite year working in our industry. It was incredibly busy, I planned a lot of business for just two clients, I was on the road a lot of the time to some awesome cities with even more awesome, local sales reps, eating our way thru markets. Sushi, Mexican, Italian, BBQ, Cuban, Asian, Vegan, Steak and Seafood joints, we didn’t skip a meal. Or pick up a tab. There were also two incredibly fun conventions in Las Vegas, Digital Signage Expo and the OAAA. Lots of laughs, cigars and seeing most excellent colleagues.

I even got to stay over a few weekends in Florida and Texas. Great places even if it was 103° in San Antonio. Nothing beats having a Sunday bbq at one of your favorite work colleagues house that you’ve known for over 15 years. His little dog even bit me on the way In. But that’s OK, you can’t have any richer times than that. And that little Chihuahua is still around. I think he has his own Facebook page.

What most people didn’t know was that while I was traveling, renting cars, flying on airplanes, rushing thru airports, navigating hotels and sitting in air-conditioned vehicles for up to seven hours a day, that I could barely walk. Not only could I barely walk but there was a good amount of pain associated with a serious back issue I was avoiding. I love my job so much that I didn’t want to screw it up. But wait there’s more, there always is when I write these. I also suffered from a heart condition that would come and go when it felt like it. It wasn’t until halfway through the summer that one doctor actually figured out what it was and began to treat it.

If that wasn’t enough, I had to keep under wraps who my second client was since we had a hard-core non-disclosure agreement carved in concrete. I made those buys under a different name through a different company for about 13 straight months. Nobody knew about these buys, not even the people I was buying them for. Yeah, figure that one out.

So while business was booming and the jet-setting market ride life was exhilarating, my body was saying stop. I would pick hotels that had lap friendly swimming pools and hot tubs, towns like St Pete FL and San Antonio TX that had great masseuses, and finally there was that all impressive heart medication that would make me nauseous, loose weight and sneeze a lot. Multaq. Look it up.

Road trips were indeed epic. But people in our industry are so nice that you overlook the obstacles as they overlooked my disabilities.

Fortunately, the all too secret client did not require market rides they had someone else do it. To this day I don’t know who did ride, all I did was get reports once a week on what the boards I bought looked like.

But even with all this drama of limping, sitting a lot, sneezing so much at dinner I would have to excuse myself and hide in a bathroom stall until it stopped, I still loved those road trips and the people I was working with. Whether in Texas or in Florida I probably saw over 120 boards each week. I would eat spectacular lunches and dinners but never come close to finishing them. Swimming at 6:30 in the morning was my saving grace.

As the year ended I started planning out how to fix these health concerns before travel would again kick in. But that would get answered itself by the Coronavirus which shut down most everything, including a lot of business. Since my secret client was federally funded that business got diverted for good. But with the bad came the good as I finally had time to address the health concerns, first the heart then months later I was well enough to have back surgery. All during Covid and all before vaccines were out. I only told a few friends about these issues and never really divulged how serious they were.

While a lot of business dried up I could once again walk, no nagging back pain, and have a normal beating heart.

And with our industry coming back, newer OOH products in the field, and a whole slew of new top advertisers taking off, I like the way the last part of 2021 and all of 2022 are looking for us. Really, I feel it’s very positive.

But I’ll say this one more time, as I have a feeling a lot of you will agree, that in our industry, 2019 was the absolute bomb. Without a doubt I would relive in a heartbeat.

Ha! Heartbeat. I just made a funny.

And I promise not to have a sneezing fit when you’re trying to polish off that blackened rib eye steak.  I’ll also never tell you who that other client was.

Only Ruben’s chihuahua knows that secret.

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