Air Checks That Don’t Suck ebook
by Tracy Johnson
How would you like to Double The Ratings? That’s kind of a ridiculous question, right? Of course you would. Everyone would. But what if you have a 15-share, and you think it’s just not possible? The math doesn’t work, does it? Yes, actually, it does. And a station in Canada did it, largely by following a Double Your Ratings game plan.
When you understand the principles behind the Double The Ratings concept, it’s easy to assume that it’s designed mainly for a market that’s measured by meters, rather than diary. But that’s not true. Double The Ratings targets actual listener behavior, which translates to gains in both ratings methodologies.
94.7 Rouge FM is a Hot AC station in Trois Rivieres, Quebec. The city of 140,000 is served by 7 in-market stations, plus quite a few signals that come in from outside the city. BBM (Canada’s equivalent of Nielsen) measures the market with diaries. For many years, Rouge ranked as the #3 station in the market, trailing their direct format competitor Energie 102.3.
One year ago, the station earned a 15-share in their target demographic of 25-54 year olds. Now there’s nothing wrong with a 15! Who wouldn’t want that? But as General Manager and Program Director Marc Thibault studied one of the core principles of Double Your Ratings, he set his sights higher. He knew the station could rise to #1. And he challenged his team to Double Your Ratings.
So the station adjusted their music mix a bit, then set out to retain their existing audience to more quarter-hours by focusing on teasing and pre-promotion.
Driving listeners to your best content to gain more ratings credit is at the heart of Double Your Ratings.
We had worked in the past on teasing what is to come in the next 10 minutes but we had a gap in promoting to other appointments. So we focused our game plan on the tease factor of creating additional appointments.
But Marc didn’t just tell the staff to promote more often. Effective teasing is about being specific and making those appointments important to the audience.
The station attacked the project with a passion. After watching my Double Your Ratings presentation, they went deeper into studying how and when to tease with the seminar 30 Tease Tips.
Then they applied the strategy on Rouge.
According to our evaluation our personalities were very good. Talent was not the problem. The talent found the steps in the presentations simple to follow. Pushing further, we realized that we did not tease often enough, and often it was generic, and as pointed out in the presentation, not that effective. So we monitored every break for a few weeks to really evaluate our tease actions.
The station took an unusual, and impressive action. They enlisted the help of a commercial copywriter to be part of the project and coordinate an all-out teasing and promotion strategy.
This is a brilliant decision to invest in the brand. Teasing and pre-promotion is part of marketing. It’s not as simple as just giving listeners a list of what you have coming up. And a professional copy-writer will know how to find a more emotional essence of the content.
They found another problem was that each personality didn’t know what was happening in other time slots. To manage the flow of information, they created an internal, closed Facebook group for each host to highlight what was to come in their shows. This made it easy for each personality to know what was happening in other time slots, and exactly when it would take place. It also held personalities accountable to be fully prepared, and allowed Marc to follow the preparation process and guide the creative direction of the station.
Then, the station set up daily on-air priorities for the talent to follow. In addition to live promos, the copywriter created a series of promos each day that promoted appointment tune-in times coming up on each show. Their personality promos now had a a call-to-action for specific content, which is one of the three objectives for effective recorded promos.
In the following year of focusing their team, the strategy paid off.
In their target demo of 25-54, Rouge has grown from 15.2 to 21.7 to 27.4. They are now the #1 at-work station. They’re just 10% from a ratings double!
Double The Ratings isn’t just theory. It’s a strategy that works for any station. Of course, you must first have programming content worth promoting.
When you do, create a promotion strategy to cause the current audience to tune in just one more quarter hour per day and one more day per week. That will result in a ratings double.
And the best part of it? This fits your budget. Because it’s free.
Like Marc, it takes a team focus, coordination and communication. Try it on your station and let me know how it works for you!
Tracy Johnson specializes in radio talent coaching, radio consulting for programming and promotions and developing digital strategies for brands.
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