Frost Advisory #664 – Are You Using A Thermometer Or A Thermostat?

The ratings arrive. Our emotions react. There is running up and down the hallways and gnashing of teeth! DO SOMETHING!

I’ve heard some pretty wacky ways that people have reacted to ratings. Moving the deejays’ shifts around, playing music from a completely different format, and implementing formatics that make the station sound more generic and less distinctive. 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.

A thermometer and thermostat both measure temperature, but are designed for different purposes.

The thermometer is designed to measure the temperature at a specific moment in time; the thermostat is designed to create a specific temperature in the future.

Here’s the bottom line…

Information about how a small sample of listeners behaved weeks and months ago WILL NOT help you understand any of these three essential factors for making good programming decisions:

  • what people love about your station
  • what they don’t love (that is, what causes tune out)
  • how to design your messaging and programming to be most attractive to new listeners

You have a choice. You can either look at the thermometer and react to what has been, or you can set the thermostat and implement a plan to reach that number.

John Frost

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

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