(By Charlie Sislen) Format classification can be subjective. What is the line between a CHR and Hot AC station or between a Classic Rock and Classic Hits station? And how is it impacted by the differences in individual markets?
By properly defining your format group and your place within your market’s radio landscape, you can better define your advantages to advertisers.
One approach is to define your format group broadly so that it includes numerous stations. You can then explain that your format group is essential in the market. Some effective points to make are:
- What percent of the population does your format group reach?
- What percent of market radio listening is attributed to your format group?
*Total market listening
*Target demographic listening
- How does your format group differ from the market’s other format groups?
*Are you more popular?
*Are you a better fit to a particular advertiser?
- Why is this format group important to a particular advertiser?
*What is its qualitative profile?
*What is its geographic appeal?
Once you have defined the format group, it’s then imperative to focus on your advantages within the format group. In other words, get the advertiser to want the format group and then want your station.
Another approach is to define your format group narrowly. The advantage here is that it’s easier to convince an advertiser that you’re the best choice of the stations in this format group. The difficulty is proving that your format group is essential to the advertiser in the first place. In this case, you need to focus on the profile of those who listen to the format and not the overall size of the audience.
The key is that each format group has unique characteristics and appeal. Before you sell your station, narrow the competition to just your format group, and then document your advantages over the other stations within that group. It’s easier to win a battle against a few than to fight the entire market.
Always remember to clearly define your format group, and be prepared to justify why each station is included in the group. Also, avoid using industry terms in favor of terms that a non-radio person would understand. For example, use “Rock” instead of “AOR.”
Charlie Sislen is a partner at Research Director, Inc. He can be reached at 410-956-0363 or by e-mail at [email protected]