Strategies To Grow Ratings In The Fall Book

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(By Gary Berkowitz) One of the most exciting parts of my job is to travel the country conducting, and being part of, research studies. Here are 13 important points that come up most often in market after market. Put some of these in motion today and see the results when fall results are released.

1. Identifying music is a major benefit. We (radio people) think we know all the songs. They (listeners) disagree. They want their favorite station to do a better job of telling them the songs played. Putting this info on your apps/website is good, but they want to hear it on the air.

2. “Good chemistry” in the morning. The relationship of the talent and how they get along is key. Important: “Fun” shows (not to be confused with funny) as well as shows they are comfortable with.

3. Great benchmarks, yes. Crusty old ones, no. Unless it’s strong, they are not as important as commenting on the day’s “news and events.” It’s a lot more important than a benchmark such as Dumb Criminal News (yes, believe it or not some shows still do this!).

4. Music is important in the morning. They want fun people having a good time, but they also want a lot of music. Please do not overlook the power and importance of music in the morning.

5. Don’t overlook the power of information. Weather, traffic, and news updates are very important to the listener. It affects their day.

6. Celebrity/entertainment news? Very low on the AC appeal scale. In most markets there is one station that is known for pop culture reporting. If it’s not you, go down a different road. There is a huge supply of great content that is not all about the Kardashians or Cardi B.

7. Women like DJs but not talky ones. Keep the talk breaks crisp, short, and to the point. Successful AC stations are not personality driven, but they must “have a personality” to succeed.

8. Morning and night personalities are the best known. Listeners are unsure of the midday and afternoon personalities. For stations that have “love songs” there is usually good familiarity with the host.

9. Delilah is still strong. She is successful in getting AC listeners to come back night after night. One thing is for sure: they know her and have strong opinions on her. Either way, women listen.

10. AC stations are described as “Easy listening/Soft Rock/Pop music.” Do not be afraid of positioning statements that meet listener expectations.

11. AC radio is a “safe haven” for women 35-54. They know it by the music we play and the way we present ourselves. They say there is no need to talk about “family friendly.” Just do it!

12. Women like contests. There is a correlation between diary keepers and contest players. Most important, is the chance to win. Prizes such as theater tickets, weekend getaways, dinners at restaurants, and tickets to shows (concerts) are all good. Entertaining contests seem more important to many of these listeners versus the actual prize itself.

13. Stopping fewer times each hour is preferred. Most listeners like the two-stop clocks, but are aware that they will “pay for it” (their words) in the end. They do however feel it is better to stop less often even if it means more spots. The one common comment heard in market after market is they feel all stations play too many commercials.

Gary Berkowitz is President of Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting, specializing in AC and Classic Hits formats. Contact him at 248.737.3727, gary@garyberk.com, or www.garyberk.com.

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