by Tracy Johnson
Every programmer would love to double their ratings, but most don’t think it’s possible. It’s even less likely if the station already has a 15-share. The math doesn’t work, does it? Yes, it does.
And a station in Canada doubled its ratings by following my Double Your Ratings plan.
Many programmers think the concept is designed for a market measured by meters, not diary. But that’s not true. Double Your Ratings targets actual listener behavior, which translates to gains in both 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.
Numeris (Canada’s equivalent of Nielsen) measures the market with diaries. For many years, Rouge ranked as the #3 station in the market, trailing its direct format competitor Energie 102.3.
A year ago, the station earned a 15-share in its 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 the principles of the Double Your Ratings strategy, he set higher goals and challenged his team.
He knew the station could rise to #1.
So the station adjusted the music mix a bit, then set out to retain their existing audience to more quarter-hours by focusing on teasing and pre-promotion.
Simple math powers the philosophy that makes it possible. Even the best listeners (P1s) tune in to a specific radio show just 2 days per week and about 3 quarter hours per day. That’s a mere six quarter-hours per week from P1s.
If a station can attract one more day of listening per week (3, instead of 2) and one more quarter-hour per day (4 instead of 3), six quarter hours become 12. The ratings have doubled.
To do that, I teach stations to create less content, not more. And make sure the content is truly great.
The next step is to recycle and repurpose content for maximum benefits. Many personalities create too much “B” and “C” level content, and never extract the value from their best breaks. It’s a simple matter of playing content hits!
But then it’s critical to promote that material so listeners hear it. And that’s how Thibault and his team accelerated growth.
Marc dug in to teach his entire team how to promote more effectively by exploring the concepts in the seminar on demand, The Art Of The Tease.
The station attacked the project with passion. They committed to studying how and when to tease, intending to create more urgency to stay tuned in.
Causing the audience to remember content by making it seem more important is just as important as getting the tune in because Top Of Mind Awareness (TOMA) drives recall
We 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 giving listeners specific reasons to take action.
The personalities worked hard to improve teasing, then held one another accountable to implement the strategy.
According to our evaluation, the personalities were very good. Talent was not the problem. The talent found the steps in Tracy’s presentations easy to follow. Pushing further, we realized that we did not tease often enough, and when we did, it was generic. So we monitored every break for a few weeks to evaluate our tease actions.
At the beginning of the project, the station took an unusual action. They enlisted the help of a commercial copywriter to coordinate an all-out teasing and promotion strategy.
This is a brilliant decision. Teasing is part of marketing. It’s not as simple as giving listeners a list of what is coming up. Their copywriter knew how to find the emotional essence of the content.
Then they solved another problem. It turned out that most of the air staff didn’t know what was happening in other time slots. To manage information flow, they created a private Facebook group for each host to highlight what was on their show.
This made it easy to stay updated. Now every personality knew exactly when highlights would take place. It also held personalities accountable to be more prepared each day. In turn, Marc could stay on top of the show prep process.
Finally, the station set up daily on-air priorities. Along with promos, the copywriter created a series of daily promos driving appointment tune-in times for each daypart.
The strategy paid off. Here are the results after one year.
In the target demo of 25-54, Rouge has grown:
Double Your Ratings isn’t just theory. It’s a strategy that works for any station that has programming worth promoting.
Create a promotion strategy to convince current listeners to tune in just one more quarter-hour per day and one more day per week.
And the best part of it? It fits your budget. This is free.
As Marc discovered, it takes a team focus, coordination, and communication. Try it and let me know how it works!
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