Below we begin a multi-part series penned by veteran programmer/consultant, Jon Quick from The Q Consulting Guys. In this new series, Jon speaks to top programmers around the country to uncover their key insights and learning from PPM. Jon’s kick-off article is below.
Programmers View From The Field: A Multi-part Series — By Jon Quick, The QConsulting Guys
In these days of radio measurement with PPM, programmers have a gold mine of new information. Did that billboard campaign work? How did that new personality perform? What kind of time spent listening did those new formatics produce?
PPM can provide most of the answers, almost instantaneously. A wonderful thing.
Before we can see those results, though, it’s a good reminder to make sure that we look back and make sure we’re doing radio right. That’s still the first step. Some of the basics are even more important than ever. Some of them don’t matter as much.
Zero in on your target audience. Make sure everything, music, topics, even liners, appeal to what they are interested in. Or they’re gone. Instantly.
Get to the point on talk shows. Don’t waste time. Get into breaks quickly and with a short creative tease. Give them a reason to stay. Telling your audience commercials are coming is like telling them to tune out. As I consult stations, it’s amazing how many times I hear a host — even in the largest markets — say, “We’re coming up to a break in just a few minutes.” Unlike diary recall, PPM shows instant dissatisfaction when you do the wrong thing.
It’s more important than ever to have all talent develop what I call “the art of the compelling tease.” It’s an on-air basic, and it doesn’t cost a dime. Never give them a reason to go away. “We’ll be right back,” isn’t enough anymore, as if it ever was.
If you do nothing else, train your hosts to learn this art. A short, concise, relevant reason to stick around.
Call letters are still important, but not as important as dial position.
Let them know where to find you easily, so they can tune in and that cute little PPM can pick you up, right away.
If you find out what they want to hear, and keep your promise, you’re far ahead of those who happen to be so wrapped up in moving ahead so quickly, they lose sight of the things that made great radio great in the first place. Things that are still necessary to keep it great.
Find out where your target listeners live, and focus your advertising in those areas.
Go there, physically. Do promotions that actually touch them. Grass roots stuff. Like the politicians do, “shake hands and kiss babies.” Build audience one listener at a time.
If you’re able to do outside advertising like billboards, zero in on those specific neighborhoods. Remember the power of direct marketing. It’s one of the most efficient ways to stay in touch with your target and your P1’s and P2’s.
Then there’s social media, Facebook, Twitter, and all the rest. New ways to stay in touch. Use them liberally. Make your brand a true 360 degree platform. You need to do it all.
Remember this, though. More than anything, there’s really one thing that hasn’t changed. Do great radio that is relevant to your target audience. Play the right songs, play the right topics, all in the right rotation. Tell them what’s to come so they don’t tune away, and continue to inform and entertain. And you’ll win. Now more than ever.
In the next installment of View From the Field, we’ll talk with other legendary programmers about their experience, insight, and learning with PPMJon Quick and John Records Landecker are The QConsulting Guys offering fresh new consulting services to talent and radio stations. Quick was named America’s Top Programmers for eight years in a row by Radio Ink magazine. He and his teams at stations like WCCO, WIBC, CKNW, KTAR and KLBJ Austion have been recognized with 10 Marconis, 4 Crystals and a Peabody. Reach Jon at 317-432-0309. or QConsultingGuys@aol.com