1. A good radio program director is a tactician. They study the market, assess the competitors’ relative strengths and weaknesses, and adjust the station’s programming accordingly.
2. A good PD respects the staff and is vigilant always to treat them courteously.
3. A good PD is a perpetual student. The PD is not ignorant enough to think he knows it all.
4. A good PD respects the audience. The PD understands that the radio station’s mission is to serve its listeners.
5. A good PD teaches the air staff to respect the audience. He teaches them how to talk to listeners on the phone and at personal appearances. He never speaks disparagingly of listeners, because he knows the air staff will follow his example.
6. A good PD becomes an expert in the community the station serves. Not just the “target demo” but in the community at large: the neighborhoods, the schools, recreation, and local politics.
7. A good PD does not allow anyone else on staff to mess with the air talents.
Station manager is offended by something a jock said? Tell it to the PD, not to the jock.
Salesperson received a complaint from a client about something that happened on-air? Take it to the PD, not the jock.
TSL continues to be one of the most important listening measurements. Some of the strategies used to improve TSL may seem palpable, but you would be surprised at how many stations don’t pay attention to the programming basics. Here are some ideas on how to increase the time your listeners stick around and most important, how many times a day they return to your station.
1. Spend extra time editing while you reexamine the music log. Guarantee each 15 minute segment is representative of the heart of the station. Specific areas include:
• Keeping the music tempo on an “even keel”. Don’t increase the rhythm artificially. A smooth rhythm works well here. Not to slow and boring. Never to intense.
• Place currents where they can be front or back sold by the DJ.
• Avoid bunches of any one group of genres. Example: Too many females, males, country artists etc.
• Check clock rotations to insure that songs are progressing through the day parts and hours properly.
2. Forget about “forced listening”. The days of “Listen all day cause you never know when you can win” are gone forever. When you’re contesting, today’s programming strategies include:
Explain exactly when they can win. The goal: get your audience to come back for another listening occurrence. Example:
• “Listen to “Mary” this morning at 10:20 and win $105.”
• Tell them what they will win. Generate some interest. E-mail/text your database about it. Sell it on Social Media.
3. Increasing “occurrences of listening” is the most effective way to increase time spent listening. The more times a day listeners come to you, the higher the ratings. Here’s an example: “Three chances to win today. Listen at 9:20, 1:20, and 3:30.” Tip: Avoid using the word “details”. It sounds too difficult. Better yet: “We’ll explain how easy it is to win.”
4. “Be Outstanding with the Basics” Whether its diary or PPM, your listeners should always “remember” who they are listening to. Calls always come first & last out of your mouth. Make sure calls are attached to all station elements.
5. Diary markets are about top of mind recall but this applies to PPM Markets as well. Listeners ask for call letters, station name, or dial position. Make sure the talent says calls (name) slow and deliberate. Often I hear station names delivered at 1000 MPH. PPM markets, this is still vital for you. The audience must know who you are to create another occurrence. You need to be the first radio station listeners remember to ‘tune-in.’
6. The morning show is always promoting forward. The greatest bit/content is wasted without effective pre-promotion. Example: “This morning at 7:20, we’ll tell you the five worst things you can say to a woman.”
• Teases should be carefully worded not to give away the story. Saying “Traffic is next” is not as efficient as saying: “There’s a problem on I-75 south at Sunset Road by the Sears store, we’ll tell you why next.”
• The morning show promo (for next day tune-in) should contain a specific time and reason for a new listening occurrence. Generic will not work. Here’s an example: “Join Tom tomorrow at 7:10 when he’ll tell you the song to listen for to win $1000.00”. Promos that review what they did earlier in the day also do not work. Who wants to hear a rerun of that day’s show?
7. No Promotion/Marketing budget? Try email, texting, Facebook, Twitter. Any and all social media. Give your followers an edge in contesting. Use all of the tools you have to “be where your audience hangs out” to produce “another occurrence of listening.”