“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.

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