by Tracy Johnson
As a programmer or morning personality, there are two audiences. One is obvious and important: The listener. They’re responsible for the ratings bonus. The other is often ignored: It’s the internal team. This audience is usually ignored. But to win with the first audience (the listener), it’s critical to educate and share a vision with the second audience (the team). As a leader, there are 6 things everyone needs to know.
This doesn’t happen at most radio stations. Everyone is so busy just getting through a day or week, they miss out on what is truly important. It’s every staff member’s job to represent the brand and truly connect with an audience. It isn’t a solo job.
So managers, programmers, promotions directors and air personalities: Put on your promotion hat. It’s time to educate and motivate that team!
Imagine going into an Italian restaurant and asking if they serve thin crust pizza. The hostess doesn’t know. You ask if they have a children’s menu, and the bartender says he has no idea. The waitress isn’t sure whether the chef is making his famous ravioli or not.
That’s how customers (listeners) feel when they call to ask a question about a feature on the morning show. Or ask the receptionist what the featured song of the day is for a text to win promotion. How about the casual listener that asks a promotions team member what kind of music the station plays? And does the sales team know the names of each air personality?
It’s amazing how uninformed promotion teams are about weekend programming. The receptionist (in many ways the face of your brand) doesn’t have a clue about the type of music played. Or the sales team can’t answer questions about morning show features.
At a minimum, every member of your team should have a strong fundamental understanding of what a radio station represents.
Here’s a fun project. Call a full staff meeting and give them a quiz about the station’s most important elements. Have each person write their answers on a sheet of paper.
Then review their answers. It will be easy to identify topics for further training. Then follow up in a series of meetings and discussions to communicate important brand values.
Note: These aren’t questions listeners will ask, but understanding these answers in detail will provide the background everyone should know.
Start with basic knowledge of the audience, and how the station hopes to fit into their daily lives.
Who Is The Target Listener?
This is not a broad, ratings demographic target, but a specific listener composite that captures the type of person that is most attracted to the brand.
In other words, who is the station for? And who is it not for? This starts with a clear vision or mission statement (which is another fun team project. To really understand the audience, dig deeper and build a Target Audience Persona.
Why Do We Exist?
Understanding how listeners use the radio station is an important part of representing the brand. This helps clarify whether the station is for emergency information, a music utility for the workday or the station that gives away the most prizes.
By the way, a great way to find out what role a station actually plays in a listener’s life is to ask a survey question: “If we went off the air forever, what would you miss about us most?”. This can be a sobering (and valuable) piece of information.
What Are We Known For?
Meaningful brands are famous. Consumers can immediately identify who they are and what they do. How is your radio station perceived and how do you want to be known? What are the desired perceptions we hope to nurture and dvelop?
Now find out how much the team knows about how the station seeks to win in the market.
What Is Most Important To The Brand?
This takes thought and planning, not to mention communication with the team. Many times, management knows what they want, but hasn’t thought through the process of making it a reality.
This goes far beyond the type of music played, or what the morning show does. It gets into what the things a station does that add to brand values that help audiences recognize the station for what we want it to be.
That’s a complicated statement, huh? It sure is. And it’s an important one to identify. If you struggle with these answers, consider a Zero Based Programming audit.
What Is Each Individual Role?
It’s amazing how many times staff members don’t know why they are asked to do the things they do. Everyone should have a sense of purpose. And each individual should understand how they contribute to a winning radio station.
Answering this question often causes managers to re-evaluate staffing. Sometimes we find that there is too much emphasis in some areas that don’t produce success. Usually, it reveals areas that aren’t getting enough attention.
Why (and When) Do Listeners Tune In?
Everyone should know the station’s unique competitive advantage. What times are most popular? Why do listeners love the station? Do they actually love us, or are we just the best choice they can find?
This is a great time to list things only your brand has. The unique selling proposition is the area that must be defended at all costs, and each employee should have a firm understanding of it.
What is The Station Personality?
Each radio brand needs a station personality that creates an advantage. What is the personality of the brand? What is the line of good taste that cannot be crossed? Each station needs a moral compass that guides the image. It affects how employees dress, talk and communicate. It also dictates how department heads staff their team.
At the end of the day, each member of the team represents the station. Each needs to know how to talk about and promote the brand.
These are hard questions. In fact, management teams may not know some of the answers. It may be a good idea to start with a department head meeting. Brainstorm the answers in detail to identify areas that can be solidified.
Then take some time to evaluate and educate the team.
It’s easy to focus on the external audience. But overlooking the internal audience makes it more difficult to win with listeners. This is part of what it means to “win in the halls before winning on the air”.
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