Strong Radio Station Positioners
Gary Begin/Sound Advantage Media
Strong positioners move a radio station past utility grade. Nearly all of the listening going on in the United States is utility not foreground, not a reason for listening. It’s about getting your radio station near the useful part of the curve. That means moving away from being a utility.
Utilities by nature get taken for granted. Radio by its nature also gets taken for granted. You turn on the Country station to hear Country. Classic Hits to hear Classic Hits, etc. That’s not all bad but that’s not all there can be! If you’re just a utility you have no top-of-mind awareness and are very easily replaced. Consider how to be more!
You need to break through the utility status and become something that transfers to an emotional level. Beyond just awareness. That’s your opportunity, where the great radio stations have been and will be in the future. If you don’t believe you’re a utility think about what you do on-the-air and when your phone calls come in. You receive the calls when you don’t do what you’re expected to do. Miss a school closing or traffic report and see what happens!
The golden opportunity in positioning is to build high profile, difficult to duplicate, desirable attributes that break through the utility status. Easy to accomplish? NO
Mass Appeal Attributes
What’s difficult to duplicate? Great Air Personalities! That’s true for every station. Put something on the air that’s entertaining and listeners can’t get anywhere else and watch your AQH change dramatically. Powerful positioners include non-musical positive differentiation and a robust sense of character. You need to ask yourself; what are the character words that describe my radio station?
If you’re going to be high-profile, you need to take a risk.
Principals of Defense
Defense must be played by a leader. The way to play defense is to attack your own weakness. A great radio station that’s on top ratings and revenue wise wants to stay there and is scared all-the-time. The radio station management thinks, “What can they do to me?” “Where am I venerable?” How would you attack your OWN radio station? What would you do about it? Do it NOW!
Defense is about never letting a product attribute be introduced that you think has ANY POTENTIAL without covering your base! This means: Don’t wait and see! If you like it, cover it….seem obvious? Confusion always benefits the leader! You never attack strength, you attack weakness. Continuously play offense. Figure out the competitions weakness and a way that’s too uncomfortable for them to cover!
Flanking is a wonderful attack method. Move into an uncontested area. Becoming the first Country or Classic Hits station in your market, etc. If you flank, surprise is everything. Pursuit is the whole shebang. You cannot just be listener focused; you have to be competitively aware. Country accomplished this by flanking the young demo, positive differentiation, unique selling proposition, relative advantage, “Not your Parents Country Station.”
A single relative advantage may come from a single point of differentiation—“Your Hometown Station,” “Country’s Hottest Hits,” “Pure Rock n Roll,” etc.
Don’t allow a complex cluster of values such as service, strong personalities, sports, entertainment, take you down. If you’re amused, chances are someone else will be also. Keep the creativity! Don’t get anal. Doesn’t matter how you get there, as long as the journey is worth it in the long run.