Baseball & Morning Radio: The Thin Line Between Mediocre & Legendary
by Tracy Johnson
If a major league baseball player hits .300 over the course of his career, he will likely become inducted into the Hall of Fame. That’s the museum reserved for the truly elite of the elite. On the other hand, a player that hits .280 is slightly above average. It doesn’t mean he won’t become a Hall of Famer, but the batting average will not get him in. He’s going to have be be elite in other areas to get there. But when you look into it deeply, there’s a thin line between mediocre & legendary.
A 20 point gap in batting average sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? But let’s look at it a different way. The difference between average and elite is razor thin. And it’s not that much different between below average and Hall of Fame.
A typical full-time major league batter comes to the plate about 600 times in a regular season. Batting average is the number of hits divided by the number of at bats. So, a .280 hitter gets 168 hits in a season (168/600). To hit .300, that player must collect 180 hits (180/600).
That’s just 12 hits a season, across 600 at bats. The difference between being GOOD and legendary is just one more hit every 50 times at bat.
Mediocre & Legendary: It’s Closer Than You Think
But why stop there. Let’s go further. Typically, a league average batting average is somewhere between .255 and .270, depending on the year. A .250 hitter will probably keep their job in the major leagues, but is easily replaced. Historically, that’s worse than the average major league player.
To hit .250, a player needs 150 hits in 600 at bats. That is just 30 hits per season less than it takes to become an all-time great. 30 hits is not much.
Let’s put it in perspective.
- 30 more hits in 600 at bats is just one more hit for each 20 at-bats.
- The major league baseball season is 26 weeks.
- If a player gets just one more hit per week, he would bat .293.
- If he got one extra hit every 6 days, he would have 30 extra hits, batting right at .300. That’s an all time great rate.
- The difference between below average and being inducted into the hall of fame is razor thing.
What Does That Mean For Radio?
Think about the difference between being an average, or even below average radio show and #1 in your market.
You’ll find the margin is even smaller.
That’s because the audience – even your very best listeners – spends little time with your radio station. Get the detailed specifics on that here. But if you want to save a couple of minutes, here are relevant facts. This is the average listening levels in morning drive for a P1 listener:
- Average length per appointment tune in: 8 minutes.
- Average number of tune in occasions per day: 3
- And, the average number of days tuning in per week: 2
When sharing this with clients, most express surprise that the average P1 only contributes 6 quarter hours per week (2 days x 3 quarter hours).
That’s 1.5 hours per week. And that makes sense, right?
As in baseball, modest improvements yield dramatic growth.
- Gaining just one quarter hour per day would increase ratings by 33% (from 6 quarter hours per week to 8).
- Entice your audience to listen one more day per week produces a 50% ratings increase (6 quarter hours to 9).
- Add one more day and one more quarter hour and ratings double (6 quarter hours become 12).
That’s how simple it is to Double Your Ratings, and the math works for every radio show on every radio station. Imagine what that means for your career. A show mired in the middle of the pack with a 4.3 share could rise to an 8.6 share. That’s probably #1.
Mediocre & Legendary: Simple, Not Easy
See how simple it is? In fact, I could go on with more statistics to show you the difference in being an average or below average performer and one who leads he league.
- Most radio shows only convert less than 40% of the station’s audience to tune into their show. Increasing that to 60% would Double Your Ratings yet again. It would be a ratings quadruple. But that blows your mind, doesn’t it?
- And, did you know that the average non P1 listener spends only 2.5 minutes per day with your show? That’s about 12 minutes a week, usually concentrated in a couple of quarter hours that deliver ratings credit (ratings don’t count unless a listener tunes in for 5 minutes in a quarter hour). What if you could get those casual listeners to listen for just a few more minutes, or just a couple more occasions?
It isn’t easy to increase ratings results dramatically. Baseball and radio are hard games to play. It’s competitive. The slimmest of margins can be the difference of being middle of the pack (or worse) and being an all star. Ratings wins go to those who capitalize on opportunities in small ways, consistently, day in and day out.
As a big fan of both baseball and radio, I see many similarities. But here’s the most obvious. The All Stars, Hall of Famers and those getting big contracts are the ones that combine talent with a commitment and dedication to outwork and out-prepare everyone else.
There’s a thin line between winning and losing. But the rewards are dramatic. Are you prepared to do what it takes to win?
Tracy Johnson specializes in radio talent coaching, radio consulting for programming and promotions and developing digital strategies for brands.