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. Television stations promote new series. It’s a new school year with new teachers and classmates. It’s a prime time to introduce new features and update your show.
September is a time for changes. The summer holiday is over and listeners are settling into new routines. It’s a great time for radio shows to introduce a new fall season (or spring season for those in the southern hemisphere!).
The New Fall Season
What are your plans for this new fall season? What is the strategy to excite current fans and attract casual listeners to talk about the show in the next few weeks? How will the show sound fresh, new, and unique? Now is the time to plan.
Of course, there has to be room for that new content. The first step is to conduct a full show audit to get rid of all the 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 to do it.
Features: Introduce a new signature feature. Established shows should not retire their best feature content, but if you have a popular feature that’s very well established, why not introduce a second one? If none of your features are established to the point of being a one-thing feature, this would be a good time to reinvent them and put new energy into promoting them as fresh, new, and exciting.
Secondary Features: These are easy to cycle through. This would be a good time to retire some that aren’t the main reason for listening and replace them with a fresh idea. There are a ton of suggestions in the Ideas Center at Insiders Radio Network.
Storylines: What are some new storylines that revolve around cast members? Maybe someone is in a new relationship, moving to a new house, started a side hustle, or has kids going to a new school. These can all be explored for serial content that could bring attention to the cast.
Fresh Spins: Sometimes all it takes to create something new is putting a fresh spin on something that is already popular. KMVQ/San Francisco’s signature game Big Money Minute is currently branded as the Back-To-School edition. The show is giving away iPads.
Games: They’ve never been more popular. What makes sense to introduce as once-in-a-while game segments that get the audience playing along more frequently?
Topics: what are listeners talking about most? What are they interested in? What are they excited about? What are they worried about? Find the topics that are top of mind now.
Promoting The New Fall Season
Making changes is the first step, but listeners need to know about it, too. So let’s promote it!
- Create a video trailer to make it exciting. Feature 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 main page of the website and consider buying social media presents to promote it as well.
- Put promos on the air frequently that communicate the excitement of the changes. Remember to use the term “new” as much as possible. Even if the biggest changes are simply 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
- September is the time you want to introduce the new features to the public. 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 when the campaign starts, it’s ready for prime time! Several clients are introducing new games over the last two weeks of August so they’re ready to rock right after Labor Day.
- If this is impossible, delay the launch of the new fall season for a couple of weeks into September, 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 personally grow? How will you individually become a better personality?
- This is also a great time to add a specific rule or two 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 new fall season rules will make your show better?
- Is the station planning a major contest or promotion? How can the show be a part of it and make it a part of the new fall season?
Here are a few more things to put on the discussion list:
- Add a new twist to an old idea. What new idea can be added to make a popular segment or feature fresh and exciting?
- Review each cast member’s character profile to ensure it’s up-to-date. What new storylines can be explored that reveal traits that have not been obvious?
- What is trending in pop culture that can be embraced and reflected?
- Consider topics from some of the most relatable categories that you have not explored as much. There’s a go-to list of can’t-miss topic categories here.
- Set new goals. This is a good time to establish 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 the attention of listeners by starting new routines and getting into their new fall season. be a part of it with something new, fresh, and exciting.