Hot Programming Topics


(By Gary Berkowitz) Winter is almost over and spring is right around the corner. With that in mind, I’d like to share some of the most frequent programming discussions that I’m hearing these days. With a few tweaks here and there, you can easily put your station in a better place to begin the spring diary sweeps which start on March 26.

The state of current music for AC. One word says it all: pathetic. Proceed with extreme caution. These days, there’s no such category as “secondary currents.” Hopefully more mainstream hit music will be coming AC’s way, but for now recurrents are your friend.

Importance of at-work. I’ve been talking about this for years. Now everyone is jumping on the at-work bandwagon. Bottom line: If you don’t win at work, you don’t win.

Lack of talent. We all felt terrible when the massive layoffs occurred back in January. I’m amazed at how few people I have heard from since then. Note to on-air people: 50% is about talent; 50% is about getting your name out there and selling yourself. Presentations should not be sloppy. Resume’s should be one-page and always sent as a PDF. And please…put your name on audio files. Obvious, but you would not believe some of the stuff I get and see. There are jobs.

Use of Alexa. It’s radio’s best (only) chance to get back into homes. Make sure Alexa skills work and it easily opens “your station” and not another similarly named one (this happens a lot). Important: Teach your listeners how to use you with Alexa.

Is it “live and local” or is it good? I say it’s the latter. Live and local sure sounds good, but if the product is not great, it will not matter. 2020 is the year to bring energy and excitement back on the radio. Do what radio does best. If you’re ready to be bold, call me. I have a plan.

Pop culture/entertainment news is still at the bottom of the barrel in appeal. Okay, I’m prepared to take hits on this one, but I’ll say it again. AC listeners have a very low appetite (based on multiple research studies) for this type of content, yet it seems to dominate many morning shows.

You may ask why the appeal is so low? Consider this: Pop culture and entertainment are very “visual” things. Listeners like seeing what celebrities look like, how they are dressed, etc. That does not come through on radio like it does either online or on TV, or on the other hand, maybe they just don’t care!

In conclusion, if you’re a programmer, be “brilliant with the basics.” You’ll never go wrong regardless of the measurement you’re in (PPM or diary). If you’re currently looking for that next gig, remember this: Get out there and sell yourself. There are good jobs and great broadcasters who will be happy to have you.

Gary Berkowitz is President of Detroit-based Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting, specializing in ratings improvement for AC radio stations: Gary can be reached at (248) 737-3727 or [email protected]


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