(By Gary Begin) Your listeners’ priorities change with the end of the working week. As a radio station, you need to reflect that with ambiance. “Ambiance” is the byproduct of combining attitude and emotion. Great radio stations have ambiance; great weekends in radio are all about being topical and addressing what everyone is murmuring about. These stations understand, that starting at 5 on Friday, “ambiance” equals “prize.” You can take pretty much any prize, download, ticket, and massage it to fit the listener.
So if someone reaches out to me and says, “I have Katy Perry tickets this weekend, what should we do?” the first thing I’d ask is “What’s trending with the Rihanna listeners right now?”
It could be Labor Day, back to school, oppressive heat. Possibly a sports scandal. Maybe a celebrity wedding. Or a Disney cruise for you and the entire family.
Other good theme starters? Begin with the name of the prize. Imagine Dragons tickets morphed into imaging, encouraging the audience to visualize their tickets. Realization comes from visualization. Throw in some Medieval Times tickets so that the winners can “see” other imaginary dragons. A Free Ticket Weekend would have been just as exciting.
So if you don’t have live talent in your city on the weekend, don’t get caught up in the mindset of “We have to give stuff to people for them to like us.” No. You just need to have some fun and relevant imaging and sound like the lifestyle of the listeners.
Then there’s syndicated programming. Besides enhancing your station with a national personality, it creates a chance to steer away from the tight playlists airing on most stations all week. It’s also a specialty program and your sales department can sell it as such and create revenue not otherwise realized. A win-win for the programming and sales departments.
The list of syndicated shows is just too long to show here, so I’ll just highlight some of the more popular programs available for weekend programming.
Premiere Networks is the largest syndicator of radio programs in the country. They cover every conceivable format in all available dayparts. Among their most popular music-formatted shows: American Top 40 with Ryan Seacrest. It’s a 4-hour program available 6:00 a.m.-12:00 a.m. local time. The most popular Top 40 music with America’s longest-running weekend countdown and a truly engaging host make this show a listener favorite on Hot AC and CHR stations.
Saturday Night Online Live with Romeo hosted by radio veteran Tim “Romeo” Herbster is uniquely interactive. Herbster’s show reaches listeners across multiple platforms—on-air, online, and via social media—creating a complete experience that connects listeners, stars, and advertisers in a bang-out Saturday-night party.
Superadio Network also has a wide variety of product available for weekends, including three Country shows, two Latino shows (plus imaging and spot production), nine Urban/Rhythmic shows, and two Hot AC shows—the most popular being Retro Pop Reunion hosted by Hot AC Talent Joe Cortese, which brings together the biggest hits of the video-music era. The show is three hours long and airs either Saturday or Sunday 6 a.m.-8 p.m. local time.
United Stations Radio Network runs Radio Hall of Famer Dick Bartley. He hosts three shows on weekends, for Oldies- or Classic Hits-formatted radio stations. He’s been hosting America’s Classic Hits request radio show since 1982. Debuting as Solid Gold Saturday Night, the program has been known as Rock & Roll’s Greatest Hits! since 1991.
A weekly, four-hour countdown show presented in a fast-paced, Top 40 style, The Classic Countdown features exclusive interview comments from musicians, songwriters, and producers who made the music. Bartley also hosts the Sunday Night Countdown on New York’s legendary WCBS-FM 101.1, streaming on wcbsfm.com every Sunday evening 8 p.m. to midnight ET.
Another busy guy is WCBS-FM morning man Scott Shannon, who hosts the four-hour Classic Hits-formatted show America’s Greatest Hits. Syndicated by United Stations Radio Network, it currently runs on 10 CBS Classic Hits stations plus additional affiliates.
Take my advice: Pick up one or two of these (or other) shows for your station. You’ll be surprised how great they’ll sound and how much money you’ll make selling advertising time.
Gary Begin is the founder and president of Sound Advantage Media, a radio programming consulting firm. He has over 30 years programming experience. His book Radio Programming and Branding—The Ultimate Podcasting and Radio Branding Guide is available on amazon.com. Contact Gary at [email protected]; www.soundadvantagemedia.com; 731-437-0536.