“Christmas isn’t going away, and we’re going to have this discussion every year.”
Two decades ago I remember saying those words to my talented friends Jim Hoge and Dean O’Neal at Z88.3 in Orlando. I remember saying that because we DO have that discussion every year. With every station.
Their situation was unique in that “The Z” was on a fast growth curve, and it was rare for a Christian station to abandon its regular format and play nothing but Christmas tunes. Besides, there was already a mainstream AC doing all Christmas and they were #1 in the market. (That AC program director was also a tall, skinny kid from west Texas with an ever so manly radio voice).
In the most recent research not ONE of the Z88.3 fans indicated they listened to the Mainstream AC for Christmas music. Quite a transformation, I’d say.
Obviously, Christmas music wasn’t the only reason for The Z’s remarkable growth, but clearly Jim and Dean seized an opportunity to transform the format’s biggest competitive disadvantage (playing generally unfamiliar music) into a competitive advantage.
This week’s Frost Advisory includes an interview about Christmas music programming I did a while back with Andrew Curran, President and COO of DMR/Interactive.
Since there are so many places to get the music now, you have to be more than just a playlist.
COMPANIONSHIP (especially in the car) is still really important.
PERSONALITY should be mandatory in EVERY daypart.
There should be “something going on” ALL the time, in every hour of the show – both “station things” and your own Content.
What you have in common with the Listener is what binds you together. If you’re generic, you’re invisible.
This week’s Frost Advisory is a departure from my regular thoughts on how to make your radio station really nifty. Instead I’d like to take this moment during Thanksgiving week to encourage you in the important work you’re doing at your station.
I’m told that the word ‘encouragement’ literally means to pour courage into. This word appears over 100 times in the New Testament. In fact, one of the descriptors for the Holy Spirit is Encourager (Acts 9:31).
“Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you.”William Arthur Ward
The more words are used, the less the Personality stands out. The more complicated a Promotion or Contest is, the less effective it is.
Keeping things simple from a formatic perspective should be married to keeping things as simple as possible in coaching talent, so they can perform in a way that truly resonates with the listener.
My methods, and the formatics I recommend are all about keeping it simple so there’s more “meat” in the Content – and even in the STYLE of the Content. Our job in the coaching arena is to make it EASY to sound consistently top-notch every day.
Poisonous things can slip in – too many words in a forecast, the name of the station redundantly said again by rote at the end of a break (taking away any possibility of the First Exit that surprises the listener), goofy names for promotions that don’t tell us what the Promotion or Contest IS, reading crappy liners (that the station Imaging voice should read, if you simply must do them), etc. Guard against these.
It’s not just “Keep It Simple, Stupid.” It’s “Keep it simple or I listen to something else.”
The freeways in my town have electronic messages on signs that direct drivers to all kinds of things. The number of miles to a destination or intersection. Road hazards or accidents along the way. Amber alerts with car description and license plate number. (Good luck remembering that without writing it down).
Are you buckled up?