(By Randy Lane) Q: In mornings, is it better to stop for commercials less often with longer stops or more often with shorter stops?
A: Since the inception of PPM, conventional wisdom has been to stop less often with longer stops in the morning to reduce the number of potential tune-outs.
Now, we believe tune-outs will be lessened by stopping for commercials more often with shorter duration. Time-spent-listening for top-rated morning shows averages 10-12 minutes per listen. Attention spans continue to shrink, and consumers are accustomed to shorter commercial breaks online and in podcasts.
Seven- to eight-minute stop sets are PPM killers. Listeners will continue to have more entertainment options, and once they leave your station it could be a long time before they return.
Q: How much music should we be playing in the morning?
A: The amount of music played in the morning is directly proportionate to the quality of the content and how the show performs against the station’s average ratings.
Commercial spot loads vary widely in the morning on music stations. Typically, they average around 14 minutes per hour and the average song length is approximately four minutes, consider the following as a guide for the number of songs to play:
• New format launches: 12 songs per hour
• Re-establishing a music position: This is a tricky one. When the show is substantially outperforming the station, leave it alone. If the show is near even to the station average: 8-10 songs per hour
• Under-performing the station average in the target more than 10%: 8-10 songs per hour
• Even with the station average in the target demo: 6-8 songs per hour
• 10-15% above the station average: 4-5 songs per hour
• 15-20% above the station average in the target demo: 3-4 songs per hour
• 20% or more above the station average in the target demo: 0-3 songs per hour
The song count averages will vary by format expectations. Male-targeted Rock stations can get away with less music in the morning. Conversely, there is a higher expectation for more music on Country and most AC stations.
Gradual changes are less noticeable. Drop one song per hour for a ratings period. Be sure to play the most familiar and multiple-format appealing songs on high-performing shows since they are attracting listeners with other music preferences.
Randy Lane launched his media talent coaching and personal brand development company in 1996. He can be contacted by phone at 805-497-7177 or email at email@example.com.