(By Gary Berkowitz) With the new year upon us, there’s no better time to take a close look at your programming operations. Most radio stations are either in a ratings period now or will be soon. With that in mind, here are 10 important product areas every PD and/or OM should look at now.
1. Air check your jocks. As PDs are busier and multi-tasking more than ever, this art seems to be falling between the cracks. There is no better way to build relationships and help jocks sound better than to close your door, turn off devices, listen to their show, and offer constructive feedback.
2. Sell the product. Hard to believe, but many radio stations sell everything but their number one product…the music. Promote the quantity, quality, benefits, and DIFFERENCE of listening to your station. Remember the power of titles and artists. Listeners always rate this very high. They want to know the names and artists of the music you are playing.
3. Do not worry about positioning burning out. Let them “BURN IN.” Sure, they need to be updated and freshened, but make sure you do not lose the focus in the process. Allowing talent to deliver positioning “in their own words” usually weakens the effect.
4. Be involved with the daily editing of the music log. Since music is number one, ensure that every segue, song, and every 15-minute cluster of music is on target. Regularly look at songs to make sure they are rotating properly. Not only through the dayparts, but the hours as well (vertical rotation). Delegating music editing to a less qualified person could cost valuable rating points. Remember, with the music, safe, familiar and “smooth” always wins in AC.
5. Make sure your station is not dull and boring. Jocks, jingles, sweepers, and promotions give you a great opportunity to keep your station alive and vibrant. Make this week the week to invent some new imaging.
6. Remember, personality is all about “the way you sound,” not the “amount of talk” you have. Take a tip from PPM markets. Keep talk elements to the point, and always make sure they are delivered with sincerity, warmth, and friendliness in the jock’s voice. If you’re doing content, if it’s not better than another song, drop it.
7. Review and update your digital assets. Is there a reason for listeners to visit you more than once? With marketing budgets at a premium, do all you can to maximize these marketing tools.
8. Work on technical improvements now. Avoid waiting for the start of the spring book to work on your audio processing or any other technical issues you may have. Check with the jocks and production people to see if there are technical issues that need attention.
9. Plan ahead. Do not wait until the last minute to plan research, promotions, or marketing programs. We all know the upcoming Nielsen survey dates. If you are planning music testing for the spring book, plan to have it on the air 3-4 weeks prior to the book’s start.
10. Review Christmas 2020 now. While it’s still fresh in your mind, look back at how this Christmas season went. Take notes for improvements for next year. Make lists of songs you’ll need, and believe it or not, start working now on clock grids so they are ready next year.
Gary Berkowitz is President of Detroit-based Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting, specializing in ratings improvement for AC radio stations: www.garyberk.com. Gary can be reached at (248) 737-3727 or [email protected].