The most exciting word in marketing and branding is new! Consistency is important. That’s why McDonald’s would never take the Big Mac off the menu. But humans are conditioned to get excited over the next big thing. That’s why McDonald’s re-introduces the McRib as a new, limited-time offer. September is the perfect time for radio shows to launch their new fall season.
This is the time of year new products are routinely rolled out. The Pumpkin Spice Latte will be here shortly. Tech companies launch their next big thing just in time for holiday shopping. Streaming services introduce new movies and shows. Along with January, the time just before holiday madness is the best time for a fresh coat of paint. It’s prime time to introduce new features and update your show.
As listeners settle into new routines, you can influence new habits. The combination of familiarity and innovation is powerful, so use it to It’s a great time for introduce a new fall season.
The New Fall Season: Get Rid Of Junk
Of course, there has to be room for that new content. The first step is to conduct a full show audit to eliminate dead weight. When Disney introduces a new attraction, they make room in the park by retiring something old. It keeps the park fresh yet familiar. For details on exactly how to do it, follow the guidelines in The Ultimate Show Makeover here and use the Zero-Based Programming techniques here.
Getting rid of on-air junk is like cleaning out the garage. It’s challenging at first, but once you get started, it’s refreshing. And it creates a lot of new space! That’s when it gets fun.
Ideas For Innovation
Here are some areas to explore fresh, new ideas for a new fall season of the show:
Branding: This is the time to introduce new branding and production elements. Have you wanted to bring out a new theme with an audio signature? This is the perfect time.
Themes: Maybe planning and promoting a Theme Week or month would create new excitement. How about making September Teacher’s Month using some of these ideas? While you’re at it, check out the Back-To-School ideas here.
Features: Established shows should not retire their best feature content, but if you have an established, popular feature, why not introduce a second one? If none of your features are strong enough to be your one-thing feature, this is a good time to put new energy into it.
Secondary Features: These are easy to cycle through. Maybe it’s time to replace some older ideas with a fresh concept. There are many suggestions at Insiders Radio Network.
Storylines: What are the new storylines about cast members? Maybe someone is in a new relationship, moving to a new house, starting a side hustle, or has kids attending a new school. Explore these life changes for serial content. This is also a great time to review your Character Brand Profiles.
Fresh Spins: Sometimes, all it takes to create something new is a fresh spin on a popular feature. KMVQ/San Francisco’s signature game Big Money Minute is branded as the Back-To-School edition. The show is giving away iPads as part of it.
Topics: what are listeners talking about? What are they interested in? What are they excited about? What are they worried about? Find the topics that are top of mind now and develop ways to use them during show prep sessions.
Promoting The New Fall Season
Making changes is the first step, but listeners must also know about it. So let’s promote it!
- Create a video trailer featuring the talent explaining exactly what is new and different and what to listen for with specific times to tune in. Feature the video on the website’s main page and consider buying social media ads to promote it as well.
- Put promos on the air frequently that communicate the excitement of the changes and use the term “new” as much as possible. Even if the biggest changes are bringing back a previously retired segment, it’s still “new” to the schedule.
- Treat each major element as a mini-brand. How can each become famous through promotion, marketing, and teasing?
Tips and Best Practices
- New features debut in September, but don’t wait until then to put them on the air. Get them on with a soft launch in August. Spend a week or two working out the kinks so that it’s ready for prime time when the campaign starts! Be ready to rock right after Labor Day.
- If this is impossible, delay the launch of the new fall season for a couple of weeks and spend the first two weeks of September practicing off the air so it’s executed well at launch.
- Challenge each person on the show to bring new creative energy. What can each person do to grow personally? How will you individually become a better personality?
- This is also a great time to add rules to improve the show. Two shows we work with are putting in new “arrive one hour before show time” rules. Another is formalizing the show prep process by setting aside a specific time to brainstorm each day. And one show is (finally) putting in place a rule that eliminates studio distractions to keep everyone focused during the show. What rules will make your show better in the new fall season?
- While you’re at it, set new goals or reset objectives. For guidance on how to set (non-ratings) goals, go here.
September is the start of the last 1/3 of the year. Don’t let it sneak up on you! Plan early to win listeners’ attention by starting new routines and participating in the new fall season with something fresh and exciting.