Frost Advisory #472 – How To Get A 100 Share: A Programming Lesson From The Weather Channel

I don’t mean to brag but… I once had a 64 share. I was the young, long-haired afternoon disc jockey on the Big Station in West Texas that had about 2/3 of all cows, chickens, and tumbleweeds listening.

To be honest, we didn’t have a lot of competition and we had the franchise elements – a huge 5,000 watt signal, Paul Harvey news, the farm report, and, e-gad, high school football.

In Florida where I live everyone is watching the Weather Channel. In bars, restaurants, in the next-door neighbors’ sun porch, Jim Cantore and Stephanie Abrams are more recognizable than the governor. (Is it still Jeb Bush?)

There is a lesson here.

Focus your efforts on the common ground of the largest group of people (for your product category). (Nielsen calls this “cume”).

“To move an audience, especially a diverse audience, from where they are to where you want them to be requires common ground. If you want me to follow you on a journey, you have to come get me. The journey must begin where I am, not where you are or where you think I should be…

Where you consistently begin and what you consistently assume determine who consistently shows up. Why? Because your assumptions create the common ground for the journey.”

Andy Stanley, “Deep and Wide”

Be “now,” because “now” is the one thing we all have in common, and we have it in common all the time.

Create FOMO (“fear of missing out”). What’s the latest? Has it made its turn to the north? Is it still a Category 4? How will the hurricane affect me? (Nielsen calls these “listening occasions”).

Hurricane Dorian was a soap opera that played itself out over the last several weeks. I reckon’ that if our industry party plans hadn’t been washed out at Momentum those traveling from all over the globe wouldn’t be paying Florida nor this Frost Advisory much attention.

But that’s the point.

My friends at Z88.3 in Orlando reached an Arbitron #1 for the first time in the summer of 2004, the season of three hurricanes: Charlie, Jean, and Frances. They did it by focusing on the common ground of the largest group of listeners (survival) and by systemically creating FOMO opportunities that kept people tuning back in to hear the latest updates.

Hopefully it won’t be a natural disaster that forces your station into emergency mode, but if you pay attention you’ll find that there is SOMETHING that everyone cares about at the same time.

While getting a 100 share may not be realistic, we can learn from those who matter the most to the most when it matters.

John Frost

About John Frost

John has been a successful major market DJ and PD for such companies as CBS, Gannett, Cap Cities, Westinghouse, Multimedia, and Sandusky and publishes the Frost Advisory.

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