PPM ratings are all about occasions. Our job in developing daily, fun radio, is to have as part of our recipe, “tune-in features” that affect listeners’ behavior so they turn us on. Listen to any successful show breakdown their wins and you will almost always hear them reference that fans set their watch for features they must hear. Solid, fun, can’t miss benchmarks must be a part of your show if you care to turn a two-day a week listener into a three-day a week listener. Much like Apple releases new products and targets them at Apple fans, your fans are the easiest route to getting more listenership because they already like you. Benchmarks must reach certain thresholds to be effective, though. Just doing the same thing at the same time each day isn’t good enough. When The TJ Show was on AMP, 103.3, Boston, we challenged TJ to come with a can’t miss feature we could get known for. Here’s TJ’s Street Match, a play along game that used people on the streets of Boston, one listener, and a bunch of very quirky questions to keep everyone tuned in.
Archive for month: October, 2020
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups have long been my #1 Halloween candy. A close second, though, is the Kit Kat bar. This year, I’m open to dethroning Reese’s. Open the phones and ask listeners to convince you why Kit Kats are better.
We make these snap judgements about people all the time. Go to the grocery store and watch a shopper not return the cart to the holding area in the parking lot after they put their items in their trunk? Well, that’s all I need to know about them. Drive into a neighborhood and see someone’s washer and dryer on their front porch? You know everything else about their life, right? Lexi and Banks, KUBL, Salt Lake City do a daily feature called That’s All I Need To Know About You. Kinda like an updated version of Jeff Foxworthy’s “You Might Be a Redneck If…” this phone in feature gives listeners an opportunity to call and make their value judgments about people around them, too. It’s relatable, fun, and highly digestible because it quick. Here are a couple of versions of it.
What would be really cool and very responsible is if you used the awesome powers of your show to encourage people to vote over the next two weeks. Not to do politics (advocate for a person or issue), but to remind people it’s their civic duty to get involved to get the city and country they want. Get all the info on how to do it locally, even inviting on guests who can add to the conversation.
Truly great shows meet the moment. They are exactly where the audience is for topics and tone. Think 9/11, Covid (when it was new), or something fun like when the first American Idol was chosen. Every show reflected the mood of the audience with tailored content for where the listeners were at that time.
There are other examples over the years – most not serious, some quite frivolous. When your show is there, that’s called being relevant.
Here’s a provocative question I’ve discussed with every show in the last week: what the hell will our show sound like on November 4, the day after the election?
There are three potential outcomes: Trump’s reelected or Biden wins outright. Or…we won’t know. Under each circumstance, what content will your show do that Wednesday, how will you do it, and most importantly, how do you want the audience to feel when they listen that day?
With the one-year anniversary approaching of the Boston bombings many years ago, I proffered this question to two shows I work with in Boston. We had to be on that topic on that day because that’s where the audience would be. I asked the shows one month out this question so we could do appropriate content that day. I did not feel that doing our usual Hollywood features, trivia games, and relationships-advice phone topics would be a match.
When I asked the Boston shows what emotions listeners would have and how we could reflect back that we were feeling that way, too, we settled on showing pride for the city – for what everyone had been through in the previous year and how they had emerged. Someone on both calls said they wanted the audience to be feel Boston Strong again. Knowing the importance of the topic and how we wanted listeners to feel made crafting that show easier.
Great shows happen at the point of wonderment in any relevant topic from your talent. That’s when they are their most authentic and grounded in honesty. And you stand your best chance that listeners will be interested and intrigued, too.
I would never presume to know how your show will sound on November 4, because I am not familiar with your brand and your talent. But each show I work with has a game plan depending on what happens on election day. I love strategies; my shows do, too. Now, all we’ll have to do is wait and see and then execute the appropriate game plan. And here’s the best part: not one game plan we came up with at any show has anything to do with politics, Trump, Biden, or the issues.
Have you engaged your show on what they should do that day, too? Or will you wake up that morning with the audience consumed by one topic and your show doing its standard fare instead?
Halloween is not too far off. Get a cute kid to read the ingredients of a popular Halloween candy. Your listener must guess what candy it is to win a prize. A key to making this sound even cuter is to not let your kid read the ingredients before you record this so they stumble through them! If you want to hear great audio of how this sounds, visit the audio page here.
My friends at Coleman Insights talk about the three T’s of content: Topic, Treatment, and Tone. What topics are you on? What are you doing with those topics (treatment)? And how do you want listeners to feel at the end of the break (tone)? This is all part of the strategic process of entertaining the audience in ways that are memorable. Relevance is the key to everything. With Halloween coming up, this is one of my favorite ideas that wonderfully executes the three T’s of content. John and Tammy, KSON, San Diego got a very cute sounding kid to read the ingredients of popular Halloween candy. The listener had to identify the candy to win. This is great because listeners not only played along in the car, but it was fun to hear. Offering up a new idea that fits the show around great content is what makes the break memorable and sets you up as “can’t miss” because there is always something fresh on the show.
A missed opportunity for many shows is in not aligning with the music on the radio station. I know this from experience – we often see our show as separate from the station brand and many times we are much more focused on our content. The biggest thing you hopefully have in common with the audience is your love of the music you play. I’ve launched numerous shows from that foundation and it always works to form a relationship with listeners. It’s especially powerful at a classic rock station. Mark and NeanderPaul, KSLX, Phoenix know and love the music they play. They found a local promoter who has had hundreds of encounters with the format’s iconic artists and convinced him to tell them stories about a few. This clip proves the power of talking about the music and telling stories as the promoter tells a terrific tale about Lindsey Buckingham (from Fleetwood Mac) and how difficult he was to deal with.
With sports back in our lives and the weather turning cooler, how about the cast doing Sober October? You guys take an oath that, throughout the month, to not touch one drop of alcohol. Get ten listeners to join with you. Check in with everyone to see who violates the pledge during the month and who, from your original group, is left standing on October 31.