“Increasing Listening Occasions & Daily Cume in a PPM Universe”

Gary Begin/Sound Advantage Media

When I looked at PPM surveyed stations in the top 48 markets regardless of format, I found the overwhelming number 1 stations in those markets have a high daily cume as well as an elevated number of listening occasions. It show’s getting people to listen more often is more important than listening longer. At least in PPM rated markets. You need more listeners more often to be number 1 and stay there.

I dug a bit deeper and found that weekend numbers were weak and it took a while to increase daily cume again on Monday. After you’ve shoved your listeners out the door Friday night, it’s difficult to get them to return on Monday. My suggestion is to not just become a music box on the weekends, but be as live and local as you can with remotes, personal appearances, contests, phones. Let listeners “get-involved” with your events. You’ll be surprised how it will increase your Monday cume.

When observing listening occasions, give your listeners a reason to come back by setting appointment opportunities. This includes daily as well as next-day-listening, (come back tomorrow at this same time.) We have to convert an increasing number of P2, P3, and P4 listeners into P1 listeners by giving reasons on a daily basis. Produce a relationship with these followers through Facebook, Twitter and E-Mail. Make sure your core listeners are reflecting on your radio station, even when they’re not listening. Top of mind awareness is key!

It is evident that cume is king in the PPM world. It’s crucial that your station becomes consistent and compelling. Consistent refers to the quality of the content, not the actual content. Radio listeners will only invest their time in a station that delivers quality on a consistent basis. Make emotional connections, tell the listener something they don’t know and tell it in an interesting story.

If you can achieve this, your listeners will become your marketing campaign.
Become the station that stands for SOMETHING and stick with it. Develop your programming into something other than a music box. You’re not going to play “More Hits, More Often.” More than what, a listener IPod? Nobody believes that to begin with. Its 80’s imaging. Pick a position and own it. Whether it’s traffic on the 10’s, the weather station, the information station, etc. If you don’t already have a brand, look around your market and see who and what core audience is being underserved. Then, design your station around your target demo. Over time, this will increase cume to your station.

Many stations and Morning Shows are not using social media correctly. Twitter and Facebook should be used to interact with your listeners, not just tease them. This is a great opportunity to interact with your audience. Remember to update often and reply to responses. Once you respond to a listener’s comment you make a valuable connection. That person will share your response with others within their social network. It snowballs from there.

Benefit on major events that happen locally and nationally that your station can own. The Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day, The Haiti Earthquake, The Red Cross, local food banks, etc. Event programming requires that it be heavily branded and strengthened during and after. You may need to go commercial-free or if you’re lucky to plan far enough in-advance, connect a sponsor with it.

You don’t require 10,000 listeners to attend your next station event to be prosperous. The importance is to provide a unique experience that listeners deem worth talking about and otherwise couldn’t get on their own. At this point, your station needs to think big and brash. A limited-access, high end party, an invitation only trip, etc.

Become creative on addressing all of these issues and you will be assured of marketing dollars and increased cume. Become strategic and have something to say! Specific appointment tune-ins and strong event programming are crucial to your stations success in PPM.




Gary Begin/Sound Advantage Media

In my experience as a radio programming consultant/author/talent coach, I’ve discovered the only common denominator between successful radio stations is attitude. The attitude of a radio station is a total composite of the people working there. Good stations have a positive attitude that can be sensed on-the-air. Your listeners may not be able to describe it; they may not even be able to be knowingly conscious of it. But it can be experienced. If the attitude is uplifting, positive and fun, your listeners will return again and again.

Radio takes place in your head. Truly a theatre of the mind experience. You can’t smell it, touch it, or see it. An entertainment medium all its own. It exists in the heads of the people who create it. Radio stations with winning attitudes inspire risk taking and learn by setting the example set by management. A good example of effective winning attitudes can be created by a company mission-statement.

Ask the question: “How do we intend to win in our market?” A truly efficient mission statement will balance the possible with the impossible. Give your employees a clear sense of the direction of the company and its goals. People need to feel inspired as if they are part of something big and significant.

Remember to have your staff, air personalities as well as sales, build a solid mission statement that your company can abide by. People want to do business with individuals they know and have faith in. This applies to advertisers and listeners alike. It’s creating a passionate bond your radio station has with listeners that becomes a winning scenario.

All radio stations that possess a driving force from within that sets them apart from the rest will possess a winning attitude. A desire that gives the station or group the fuel to reach their true potential will have positive attitudes. We all know people who exhibit the ability to get along with anyone and everyone. This ability is truly a gift of connecting with others. The capability to build rapport is critical in establishing a winning attitude.

All winning people with positive attitudes develop a strategy as a game plan of life. This road map is something you will use to establish your goals, ambitions and desires. A positive attitude is a strong part of this tactic. Just believing you can earn $50,000 a year is not enough, you must design a plan that gives your life direction and navigates you toward the ultimate achievement, possessing a winning attitude!


“Integrity” Gary Begin Sound Advantage Media

My definition of Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.

All we can really count on in our lifetime is our integrity. What you do in your professional life tends to bleed over into your personal life. The two tend to be synonymous. When you’re thinking about integrity, think about Tiger Woods who, turned out to be the poster boy for absence of integrity. Include Bernie Madoff in this list when his billion-dollar con became known.

You can be the best golfer or broker in the world, but if you lack integrity, that’s what people will remember about you. Tiger Woods can mend his golf game; unfortunately his reputation is forever stained. You cannot just get it back. No matter how delicately you forfeit your integrity, it returns to plague you. Somebody untimely finds out and the world will ascertain who you are and what you’re about.

If you have not already damaged your personal integrity, here are some steps to attain integrity in your daily life:

Reflect on your interactions with others in the workplace, at home and in social situations to determine specific areas in need of improvement. For example, if you are late for work every day and feel guilty about creating excuses for this behavior, this may be an opportunity to develop greater personal integrity.

Determine your reasons for not behaving with greater personal integrity. For example, you may be pushing unpleasant work tasks on to other employees instead of being honest with your boss about your inability to do the tasks. You may be afraid to admit to yourself or to your boss that you do not possess the right skills or that the job is not the right fit for you.

Face the obstacles that cause you to lie or violate your moral code. This might involve finding a more suitable job, facing your fears about how others may perceive you and/or seeking out counseling to address emotional challenges and insecurities.

Consider all of the relationships at home and work that will benefit from greater truthfulness. For example, if managing a team of employees, be honest and direct with each individual about your expectations and employee performance. Avoid backbiting or gossiping. Refrain from causing harm. Part of developing personal integrity is gauging when and how to deliver the truth. Be careful not to confuse truthfulness with anger-driven and brutally honest confrontation.

Listen to and respect the opinions and decisions of others. Part of possessing personal integrity is acknowledging the human rights of others. Respecting diverse thoughts and decisions is a sign of open-mindedness and integrity. And finally:

Enlist the help of others. Colleagues, relatives and friends who know you well and have your best interest at heart can assist your progress by providing objective feedback on a daily basis about the personal changes you are making.


Keep your Radio Station Imaging Fresh

Gary Begin/Sound Advantage Media

Radio station imaging is defined as audio recordings played to promote the station. Other terms for imaging have included sweepers, promos, ids, liners and station ids.
Anything not well preserved will at some point be reduced to destruction. The same is true for radio stations. Occasionally when a Program Director loves their imaging, the inclination is, he or she doesn’t take the time to change it. You need to keep your message fresh and relevant to your listeners at all times.

It’s critical to create an imaging time-table. Chart out a specific theme or idea for the entire year’s imaging. January can be used as a New Year subject, Valentine’s for February, March for spring, etc.
Remember to always be consistent with your station’s slogan. It’s critical that you possess a universal slogan that sticks to the station’s brand. Some examples include:” —— your #1 Hit Music Station” or” Easy Going Favorites” for a Lite Rock station. When using catchphrases and teasers, they should not be confused with slogans! Slogans are permanent as long as the station’s format does not change. Teasers are just mini-slogans that tie up the present imaging, promos, events and personality liners altogether. Teasers may change.

Become unique! Very often, the only line not blurred between competing stations is their call letters. Your station must stand out in a competitive marketplace. Think outside the box and don’t be afraid to break some rules. The only feedback to see if you’re imaging works is your listeners. Pay attention to what they say. Ask them what they want to hear and what they need to hear. Probe into their lifestyle and incorporate that into your imaging.

One adage of today’s marketing is radio listeners react to testimonials. Nonetheless, sometimes listeners don’t sound “genuine.” Would a real person actually say? “…..lots of FUN in the morning and the most music all day.” “….makes me want to dance.” Before placing testimonials on the air, ask yourself “does this sound genuine?”

Creative and realistic imaging becomes an important part of your stations character regardless of the audience measuring apparatus. Always keep the message clear and avoid clutter at all costs. Fresh imaging will enhance your product and serve a purpose for both the station and listener.