Wednesday, February 27, 2008

We Are In Show Business

Wise words from Walt Sabo:

“We are in show business. Our entertainment value always requires improvement. Therefore when an ‘air talent ends their shift...’ probably should be when ‘an air talent ends their show’... A shift is at the 7-11 or Ford Factory… Everyone says shift… But…it’s a show!”

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

7 B’s For Breakthrough Personalities

  1. Be Interesting
  2. Be Unique
  3. Be Fun
  4. Be A Risk-Taker
  5. Be Visible
  6. Be Authentic
  7. Be Interactive

Monday, February 25, 2008

Geometric INSIGHT: Ten Most Common Music Scheduling Mistakes

1) MISMATCH Between Music Library and Music Strategy

Very simply, are you playing the right songs?

The right strategy and the wrong songs will not help you achieve your goals. Review each song in rotation and determine how it contributes to the strategy, then recode the library, and run the analysis tools to check against your desired goal.

2) BAD MATHematical Rotations

Proper turnover ratios are critical to the efficient scheduling of your categories. The wrong turnover will make it more difficult to schedule songs, or even worse, songs will play in the same daypart or hour day after day. Avoid having the same or similar turnover for multiple categories or your rotation patterns will become predicable. For instance: a 6 song category played 1 time every hour will naturally be played every 6 hours, with a risk of having the song play at 0600, 1200, 1800 & 2400 every day. What does the computer know about the music?

3) Lack of CONSISTENT Coding

In so many cases, stations have multiple people entering the songs and determining the sound coding. When a computer receives inconsistent parameters and values, the result will probably be the same. Review the coding of your entire library at least once a year, and more often on contemporary-based stations. This must be done by one person or a small group all at once. The best way to do this is to set up a list of typical songs that describe each code used by the station and use this as a guide.

4) IMPROPER Rules and Parameters

Rethink which rules really matter to your station.

Prioritize, and don’t use more rules than needed. The rules used must be in sync with the coding of the library. Be careful determining which rules are breakable and which are unbreakable. Too many unbreakable rules will give you a false sense of security, while really working against the natural flow of your station. One typical problem is Artist Separation. A separation of 2½ hours with a category turning over in 5 hours will keep other songs by that same artist from ever playing. If variety is your claim, make sure to have rules which deal with type, style, era and tempo activated, and leave others turned off.

5) Building Clocks That Don't Communicate What’s REALLY Important for The Station

To satisfy the listeners you need to create clocks that make sure you’re never far away from the songs that are most important for your listeners. If you are playing “spice” songs or new unfamiliar music, play them between your truly strong songs. For instance, if you’re a CHR station, make sure to play your new cuts next to your “important songs” like Power Currents or Power Recurrents.

6) Not Using MULTIPLE Clocks to avoid having songs play in the same clock position every time they get played

With a better match between the number of songs in each category and the number of different clocks, there can be a flow where the songs get exposed in different positions within the hour. With a setup of 5, 7 and 9 currents you can be very successful with 4 different sets of music sweeps where these current songs can appear in both first, second, third and fourth quarter hour.

7) Improper Sound Code/Type/Category BALANCE

Poor balance can make a station sound inconsistent.

Five songs from type A in 1 hour and none in the next hour can communicate two different types of stations. An even exposure of all your played sounds is the way to go. This is especially important for your edgier sounds. The solution is primarily in category setup and secondarily in your rules settings. By making sure to set up rules for your truly “edgy” sounds, you can control their distribution more easily. With too many rules for core sounds, you will unnecessarily make it harder for your music scheduler to work well.What does your music say about your station?

8) INCONSISTENT Categories

Each category must communicate one general theme. In many databases, there are big problems with categories communicating too many things. In this case, the station is less likely to deliver the desired balance in each quarter hour. A power category with too many songs, for instance, risks not being able to communicate passion. Are all songs in the category really Power songs? If a category consists of both very new songs and former Power songs, it is performing two different functions for the listener. Depending on the way these songs fall, the balance from hour to hour can be uneven when it comes to familiarity and strength.

9) Uneven EXPOSURE

Poorly designed categories and clocks often result in some songs in a category receiving a lot of exposure, while others in the same category receive very little. If an average secondary song receives more airplay than many powers because the computer finds it easier to schedule, you need to either fix the categories or the rule settings. This also happens more often if you experience too many unscheduled positions.

10) Bad VERTICAL and HORIZONTAL Separation

Many stations make an effort to use rules to keep titles well separated. If a category is out of balance, and the rules are too strict, you can end up scheduling the same songs at the same time day after day or every second or third day. The scheduling software cannot perform miracles. If the natural rotation of a category is exactly 2 days, there is only so much it can do to correct this problem. If your rules are too rigorous (and without a clear hierarchy) the scheduler must compromise somewhere to the detriment of your strategy and your TSL. Rethink how listeners are using the station; If the average midday listener is not listening in the evening, then a 1day/1 daypart separation is more effective than a 2 day rotation for your station.

A special thanks to Robert Johansson at!

If you want to find out more ways to improve your music scheduling, please send your questions to

Thursday, February 21, 2008

10 Things You Can Learn From Politics To Improve Your On-Air Performance

  1. Personality is just as important as the execution of programming policy and formatics.
  2. It's better to believe in something vs. everything. All great personalities have a unique and powerful point-of-view (POV).
  3. Words do matter. The delivery of them matters even more. Prep before each break to ensure that your content and delivery are always compelling.
  4. Never forget that positive trumps negative.
  5. Authenticity is hard to fake but easy to harness. Listeners embrace authentic personalities because they connect with them in real and emotional ways.
  6. Leadership trumps (office & show) politics.
  7. The internet isn't a channel, it's THE channel. (Are you a multimedia personality? How are you connecting with listeners on-air, online and in-person?)
  8. Influence is contagious—so is hope. Remember, you are doing more than reading liners and delivering content. You are improving the lives of listeners with the entertainment and information that they want and need most, while linking them to the passions, people and events that they care about most. You are where you are to make a difference.
  9. You can't force people (or Arbitron) to like you.
  10. Anything is possible.

Put Morning Shows Around The Clock

College Students: "Put Morning Shows Around The Clock" - Former industry publisher, turned college professor at USC, Jerry Del Colliano writes that when students were asked how they would save radio, many said "Radio should add morning radio type personalities around the clock." Read more here.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Geometric INSIGHT: Ten Commandments Of Powerful Programming

Need help improving your programming now? Well, here are Geometric Media’s Ten Commandments of Powerful Programming©. If you faithfully follow these rules, you can achieve better ratings and revenue results.

I. Thou shalt know thy listener.

II. Thou shalt develop precise definitions (profiles and personas) of thy target, emphasizing P-1s (on-air) and unique users (online).

III. Thou shalt develop a brand promise that establishes an emotional connection.

IV. Thou shalt not waver in demonstrating unswerving commitment to your brand.

V. Thou shalt ensure a consistent brand experience – on-air, online and on-site.

VI. Thou shalt create an audio environment that thy listeners appreciate.

VII. Thou shalt continuously innovate interactive content features, promotions, marketing and events for listeners, clients and partners.

VIII. Thou shalt expand profitability into new markets and channels (online and offline).

IX. Thou shalt not centralize the day-to-day execution - but thou shalt centralize brand image.

X. Thou shalt obsessively measure the brand and business operations (i.e., ratings, revenue, engagement and business metrics).

If you want to know more about the Ten Commandments of Powerful Programming©, feel free to
email me.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Importance Of Focus & Differentiation

Focus & Differentiation are the two most important concepts in brand design.

• By definition, a brand is not for everyone – therein lies its power.
• The more specific your brand’s promise is, the stronger your brand’s equity will be.
• Ideally, the brand tells a story that is unique to its organization.
• Differentiate your brand in ways that are relevant and compelling to your target consumer.
• Number 2 brands must never try to emulate market leaders. Their power (as is true of all brands) lies in relevant differentiation.
• Whenever possible, a brand should try to own the “next big thing” (the emerging key relevant differentiating benefit).

[from Derrick Daye at Brand Strategy Insider]

Friday, February 15, 2008

8 Key Elements To Successful Online Communication

Earlier this week at the Radio Advertising Bureau 2008 Conference in Atlanta, Deb Esayian of Emmis Interactive offered 8 Key Elements to Successful Online Communication:
  • Feature Key Communication Points
  • Always an “Opt-In” for more components
  • Personalization/Social Networking
  • Participation/Community
  • Entertainment
  • Persuasive Component
  • Viral Component
  • Database Capture

For more, visit

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Six Tenets Of Values-Based Programming

To successful create relevant and compelling programming content for your audience, you must uncover and tap into their aspirations, beliefs and values. With that in mind, here are six tenets of values-based programming.

  • Truth and Honesty
  • End the Hype
  • Real Not an “Ideal”
  • Understand and Treat People Like Individuals
  • Empowerment
  • Attitude of Service

Thanks to Jaye Albright for sharing her unique programming POV!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

On-Demand Now In Demand

According to, in 2007 the US Podcast Audience grew to a total of 18 million. That reflects an increase in audience size of of 285% over the previous year.

The growth doesn't stop there. It's projected that by 2012 the audience will grow to a total of 65 million with 25 million "active" audience members who listen/watch each week.

And advertisers are taking note.

With the podcast audience increasing, the advertising spend for podcasts is increasing as well. In 2007, there was a 106% increase in advertising totaling $165 million. The growth will continue this year with US podcast advertising spending expected to reach $240 million. And by 2012 those numbers will reach further skyward to $435 million.

So all of this begs the question: What is your podcasting plan?

It's amazing to me how many radio station websites are static and do not feature audio/video podcasts. With the US podcasting audience and revenues growing at such a rapid clip, how can you justify not having your brand's most compelling content available on-demand for listeners and available to advertisers for sponsorship.

If your station is not podcasting, don't delay it any further. Call a meeting, gather all the smart people around the conference room table, come with your podcasting plan and implement it NOW.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Clarity Is The New Creativity

According to Roy H. Williams, the Wizard of Ads, CLARITY is the new CREATIVITY…

In the language of academics:
The central executive of working memory is the new battleground for marketers. Writers are successfully surprising Broca, thereby gaining the momentary attention of the public, but an absence of salience remains.

In the language of newscasters:
Are your ads gaining the attention of the public but failing to get results? Find out why and learn exactly what you can do about it. Stay tuned for complete details. (Insert commercial break here.)

In the language of the street:
Ads have gotten more creative, but they haven’t gotten more convincing. This sucks for advertisers and the public isn’t helped by it, either.

In the language of clarity:
Can your product be differentiated? Can you point out that difference quickly? Can you explain why the difference matters? This is effective marketing.

To DIFFERENTIATE your product powerfully and clearly:
1. See it though the eyes of the public (listeners). (Insiders have too much knowledge.)
2. Ignore everything that doesn’t matter.
3. Focus on what the public actually cares about.
4. Say it in the fewest possible words.
5. Close the loopholes by anticipating the customer’s (listener’s) unspoken questions.


Programming Leadership and Content Innovation

Some programmers and managers are passionate about innovation, while others shy away from new ideas.

McKinsey research finds that, in some organizations, managers who are most frequently sought out for advice on new concepts often have the most negative attitudes towards innovation—partly because they have difficulty balancing new ideas with current priorities.

One way around these bottlenecks is to intentionally create networks of programmers and talent charged with encouraging new ideas. These innovation teams can identify promising new content and marketing concepts and prioritize them so that they receive the attention they deserve.

The bottomline: Better content and marketing ideation, innovation and implementation will ultimately lead to better topline ratings and revenue.

For more about the ways managers (and programmers) can encourage new ideas, read "
Leadership and innovation." [Premium subscription required]