Tuesday, July 29, 2008

8 Critical Things Every Personality Needs To Know About PPM

As a student of marketing and media, I believe that inspiration and insight can come from anywhere. Over the years, I have personally programmed, consulted or advised multiple formats. And although I work mostly with contemporary formats like Rhythmic, Top 40, Hip-Hop, Urban, Hot AC, Urban AC and Inspirational, I’ve always had a special affinity for the Country format.

I’m not sure what I find most compelling about Country. It could be the “story-telling” that I hear in the format’s hit songs, the amazing “story-telling” capabilities of country’s top personalities (other personalities take note) or the values and passions promoted by the format (other programmer’s take note).

Maybe, it’s all of the above (or just the fact that my dad had an eclectic record collection).

But one thing I know for sure is, every time that I’ve had the opportunity to talk or interact with Country programming legends like Ed Salamon, Larry Daniels or Jaye Albright, I immediately see how “best practices” in one format can be modified for or applied to another.

In radio, some things are universal - regardless of format – and Country consultant Jaye Albright clearly demonstrates this idea as she reveals “8 Critical Things Every Personality Needs To Know About PPM.” Here they are:

1. No matter what anyone says, there are no experts yet. It's too early. We're all still trying to figure it out.

2. PPM loves music, so your greatest risk of audience loss is opening the microphone. Relevance and engagement are the name of the game. Content must consistently connect.

3. It's almost impossible to make the average listener spend any more time per occasion. Teasing a list of artists 'coming up,' is ineffective. Create events and ride the wave when they gain traction to increase the number of times your most loyal listeners tune to you.

4. There is no such thing as exclusive cume. Fortunately, your cume is much larger than you ever thought it was, based on recall measurement.

5. PPM metrics replicate the behaviors we see in music research, streaming audio audience flow, MediaEKG and other forms of behavioral research data on radio usage. The more you live with the data, the more it looks like reality. For example, you'll know when one of your heavy user households goes away, leaves town on vacation for two weeks.

6. The quality of the sample is a concern, of course, but, due to panel management, it appears to be better and more consistent than the randomness of the diary samples, which are getting worse and worse due to the growth of cell phone only homes.

7. The transmitter may be on the air but if the encoder isn't working, you are functionally off the air. Ditto with your stream and HD side channels too. Some extra meters to read during your shift.

8. You have twice as many competitors for your listeners time as the diary led you to believe. On the other side of the same coin, you get sampling from many more other stations than we previously thought.

Thanks for sharing your tips, Jaye! More from Jaye here.

Geometric Insight: I couldn’t agree with Jaye more. In today’s competitive environment, I tell the personalities all the time that they must evolve into authentic, engaging, multi-media brands now to remain relevant to listeners/users in the future and beyond. Under the PPM, every aspect of your on-air presentation has to be more compelling and seamless each time you open the mic. Everything is an event! And you must create “appointment listening” programming opportunities (read: events) on your station or show to encourage repeat tune-in vertically, along with increased horizontal (day-to-day) tune-in, to move the ratings needle in a PPM world. Let’s be real, you can only stretch time-spent-listening (TSL), or average-time-exposed (ATE), so far as “time-squeezed” listeners encounter more daily distractions amid a plethora of media choices and marketing noise. Are you PPM savvy - and ready?

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