(By Randy Lane) The one-two punch that propels female-targeted shows to big ratings is the combination of a sticky relationship benchmark and relevant personal stories from the cast.
Those stories connect best with the female audience (and the male audience) when they are vulnerable, self-deprecating, and humorous.
A-level content for any show thrives on humor, stories (personal and external), vulnerability, drama, conflict, mystery, and tension coming from the cast and listeners.
Breakthrough Appointment Benchmarks
In the early 2000’s War of the Roses was the catalyst that pushed many morning shows over the top in ratings. Dramatic storytelling drives this captivating relationship feature. War of the Roses and the 2nd Date Update concept are not only the highest tune-in point of several top-rated shows, they are holding up big shows that have gotten stale.
The Nielsen benefits of this two-part feature are that it attracts high tune-ins at an appointed time and increases time-spent-listening with the resolution happening in the next quarter-hour a few minutes later.
A female caller thinks her significant other is cheating, the show calls the guy posing as a florist that is giving away a dozen free roses, then she discovers if he sends the roses to the other woman.
The following relationship features are also must-listen appointment benchmarks that combine all the elements of A-level content.
2nd Date Update/Blown Off/Ghosted (same concept, different names): The premise is two people go on a date, one of them thinks it went great, but the other won’t respond back for a second date. Conflict and drama unfold when the blown-off person confronts the person that went ghost. Hear an example of Todd and Jayde WPLJ New York.
KVJ at WRMF West Palm Beach originated Hang up or Hang out. A female caller is chosen to decide whether she’ll hang up or hang out with a male caller. She asks the questions in the setup and then reveals her decision to hang up or hang out in the next quarter-hour.
Love ‘em or Leave ‘em, Make up or Break up are other relationship scenario benchmarks with drama and conflict that work too.
Cadillac Jack & Ali Mac at Kicks 101.5 Atlanta use an umbrella concept called Lifeline that encompasses several relationship scenarios, including couples, parenting, coworkers, friends, etc. The show creates horizontal/serial content by setting up the dramatic scenario one morning at a specific time and airing the resolution at the same time the next morning.
Replay Appointment Benchmarks
Take advantage of a high tune-in benchmark by replaying it in other hours and other days to expose impactful content to a greater percentage of your audience. Airing a feature once will only be heard by people who listen at the appointed time, less than 10% of the audience.
Radio shows and podcasts complete the one-two punch by the cast sharing their dilemmas, relationship issues, and character flaws. Cover the emotional scale with stories that reveal vulnerability, inner conflicts, realizations, and humorous calamities.