The “Repurposing Content” Debate

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(By Randy Lane) I encourage shows to repurpose their best content to attract more listeners. So, why do some major shows disagree?

To gain more insight into the debate over repurposing content, I  talked with three friends who happen to be some of the most innovative morning hosts in the business: Bert Weiss of the syndicated Bert Show in Atlanta, Kevin Rolston of the KVJ Show in West Palm Beach, and Dave Ryan KDWB Minneapolis. It was interesting to find out that they have differing opinions on the subject.

Dave shared, “We DJs want to think that people listen to our entire show, leaning in with a pencil and paper taking notes. I’ve learned from the Nielsen research that most people only listen for a few minutes a couple of times each morning.”

Repurposing content tends to increase ratings because the average time-spent-listening to the biggest shows is only 10-12 minutes per tune-in.

Because most people listen at the same time daily based on their schedule, the chances of hearing the same content in a different hour is slim. And, if it’s great content, they’ll enjoy hearing it again. Dave says one of his all-time favorite TV shows is The Office. “When a rerun of The Office comes on that I’ve seen before, I’ll watch a funny episode a second or even a third time.”

Airing a priceless content segment once will only be heard by less than 10 percent of the audience. As Dave remarked, “Playing great content one time is like buying a $300 shirt and only wearing it once!”

Can repurposing content hurt ratings?

Surprisingly, two of the most successful morning hosts say yes. The Bert Show recycles about five percent of their content. Bert stated that “ for about a year we repurposed our best content from the 7 to 9 am hour. The ratings went down, and we got a steady stream of complaints from our large P1 audience. We stopped repurposing and the ratings immediately went back up.

Bert believes that radio listening is not declining, and argues Nielsen is not accurately reporting the number of listeners who have simply shifted to on-demand radio. The fact that his show podcast gets a remarkable 50-60,000 downloads daily proves his point.

The KVJ Show only repurposes a small portion of their content as well. Kevin shared, “We only repurpose content that is entertaining enough to hear a second or third time. It tends to be more punchline and bit oriented.”

Like The Bert Show, KVJ has a huge P1 base that complains about repurposed content, and the show has a big online presence. The whole show and highlighted shorter segments are posted in podcast form. Kevin points out an impressive statistic about the podcast: “The two and half-hour podcast of our show maintains a 75% retention rate (75% listen through the entire podcast).”

The Takeaway

Top-rated shows that have an exceptionally large P1 base and a successful online presence can get away with repurposing only a fraction of their content. But, the smart strategy for most shows is to replay A-level content multiple times. This will increase the chances that when listeners tune in they are hearing your best content.

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 info@randylane.net.

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