I have a friend named Andy. (Not his real name). He is a disc jockey.
He does disc jockey things. You know, “This Day in History.” Trivia. Shows about favorite pizza. Where the sports teams are playing tonight.
Basically, Andy does the bag of tricks from his previous station. And the one before that. Because of that Andy doesn’t have to work very hard on his show. It sort of does itself.
The problem is our listeners don’t listen to us for that. His content not only DOESN’T add value (the very purpose of content), it is actually an interruption in meeting the expectation of the listeners.
We had to help Andy change the way he thought about his show.
“Your July memories” pops up on my Facebook timeline.
“One year ago” pops up. Then “5 years ago.” Then “two months ago last Thursday.”
In radio we call this “recycling.” In social media vernacular it’s about keeping the conversation going. Facebook is all about engagement, so they create prefabricated milestones designed to prompt you to engage.
What do we want them to say?
Garth was in town and there was no room at the inn.
My hotel reservation vaporized and it appeared as though I didn’t even have friends in low places. My pal Brian and I trudged along from city to city in our hotel treasure hunt until we uncovered the last room available.
Entering my room to unpack my case I noticed a desk for my computer and quickly realized there was no electric outlet to plug into. On hands and knees I discovered an outlet behind the dresser next to the desk. The only way for me to plug in my computer was to move the furniture.
The very reason the desk was there – to be a work station for my computer – was rendered useless because of the way the room had been designed.
My recent birthday was spent in Section 122, Seat 13, at Wrigley Field on Chicago’s north side; nothing short of baseball heaven. But that’s not the story.
When the folks at Wrigley Field found out it was my birthday I was immediately ushered to Customer Service where I was ceremoniously awarded an “It’s my birthday” sticker while being serenaded with “Happy Birthday” by those charged with creating memories for fans. And they did.
And it didn’t stop there.
On last week’s show I yakked about Delta Airlines’ new campaign that invites Medallion members to reclaim their status “when life puts your travel on hold.” The campaign focuses on encouraging travel from previous frequent fliers because Delta knows they are twice as profitable as low fare travelers.
What can we radio folk learn from Delta’s campaign?
Heavy listeners deliver on average 4x the occasions and TSL as light listeners. Not all listeners (or airline passengers) are created equal, at least in Nielsen-think.
In a PPM world, losing even one high AQH panelist can mean losing thousands of cume and hundreds of average quarter horses. Losing even a handful of meters can drop your ratings like a rock. That can happen when your station doesn’t remain top of mind in a world of choice. Consider how easy it is to skip your favorite restaurant or miss your favorite TV show simply because life gets busy.
Delta Airlines has launched a new campaign designed to entice former Medallion members to reclaim their prior status.
“When life puts your travel on hold”
Delta knows that some travelers are more valuable than others. Business travelers account for just over 10% percent of airlines’ passengers, but they are typically twice as profitable.
“We’re always looking for new ways to take care of our customers and that includes injecting even more empathy into travel … Loyalty goes both ways.”
The United States of America was born 243 years ago with a Declaration of Independence, and a subsequent Bill of Rights for all citizens to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But as Americans we know that with rights comes responsibility.
The same can be said for your radio station.
Yes, you have the right to play any song you want. But you also have the responsibility of creating passionate fans which begins with a foundation of songs they know and love.
Yes, you have the right to talk about anything you want. But you have the responsibility of connecting with common interests and values, and communicating the bigger idea! That’s how groups become tribes, and tribes become movements.
Yes, you have the right to blabber on as long as you want. But you have the responsibility of communicating effectively, which means being prepared, purposeful, and precise.
Yes, you have the right to be among the lowest rated stations in your market. But you have the responsibility that goes with being the largest church in town. To fulfill that responsibility your station needs a clear purpose, a team of people that are united around it, and the passion and determination to execute the programming and marketing elements that make that purpose a reality.
On this 4th of July weekend, let’s wave our flags, shoot off our fireworks, and sing our patriotic songs…
…but let’s not forget our responsibilities!
“What are you NOT doing?,” my dad would say as he entered his teenage son’s room.
What I WAS doing was evident to him. Often nothing. He wanted to know the more important answer… that I WASN’T mowing the yard, that I WASN’T doing my homework, that I WASN’T, in his words, “making something of myself.”
The ratings arrive. Our emotions react. There is running up and down the hallways and gnashing of teeth!
I’ve heard some pretty wacky ways that people have reacted to ratings. Moving the deejays’ shifts around, playing music from another format, and implementing formatics that make the station sound less distinctive and more generic.
“I’M NOT MAKING THIS UP,” as Dave Barry would say.
Making programming decisions based solely upon ratings is like driving with a GPS that shows only where you’ve been.
It’s a thing in my family. We play cards and board games and stuff. Vacations are planned with that fierce evening competition in mind.
The problem with these games is that you only really know what is right before you.
You only know the card that has just been played, or the next move, but NOT what the eventual impact it will have on the outcome of the game.
Programming a station can sometimes feel that way.