Today’s programmers are hyper-focused on reducing clutter. That’s good. But in some cases, the emphasis is on being short, not tight. And there’s a difference. Some promos are short bullet points of information. Others are overloaded with so much information listeners can’t sort out what’s important. This article is about the strategy behind morning show promos and how they can deliver ratings.

But first, answer a simple question: What’s Your Number? Every station is struggling to find extra AQH. Many aspects of The Ratings Game are out of our control. But every station has a tremendous opportunity to grow morning show ratings. And promos can be the key.

Strategy Behind Morning Show Promos

Most of my work is with personalities to grow the fan base and increase ratings and revenue. After improving the show’s performance, the easiest way to increase results is by leveraging the radio station’s strength.

So one of the questions I ask programmers is:

What percentage of the total station cume does not listen to the morning show?.

Most have no idea. It’s fun to ask them to estimate before checking it out. They’re usually way off.

The number is easy to calculate. For example:

  • Total station cume:  100,000
  • Morning show cume: 30,000
  • Percentage of cume that listens in the morning: 30%
  • The number is 30%.

Here’s a graphic that demonstrates it:

In the example, 32% of the station’s audience listens to the morning show. And 9% listen at night.

What’s a Typical Number?

These percentages seem low, don’t they? Most presume the number is much higher.  Many factors should be considered (number of stations in the market, competitive situation, etc.), but a general guideline is:

If The Number is Less Than 20, the show is in trouble and needs major help. On the other hand, there is fixing it will provide a big lift. The lowest number I’ve seen is 17.

20-25: The show has a lot of work to do, but may have a fighting chance.

25-30: There’s potential, but it’s going to take some time and major changes.

30-40: This is a strong show. Believe it or not, personalities that attract more than 1/3 of the total station cume are not as common as most radio pros believe.

If Your Number Is Over 40: Congratulations. This is a high-performing morning show.

It’s rare to see a show with a number over 50. The best I’ve seen is 59. That means an amazing 59% of the station’s cume tunes in at some time in the morning.

Morning Show Promos

This has everything to do with morning show promos.

Imagine an Italian restaurant that wants to grow its customer base. Who should they promote to? People who like Italian food, of course. But to reach those folks, they must advertise to a much larger audience. Much of the cost of delivering the message is wasted.

Now imagine they can direct ads only to those that have been in an Italian restaurant in the past week. Wouldn’t that be an effective way to advertise? Of course. And wouldn’t it be most effective to promote to those that have been in their restaurant recently?

100% of your radio station’s audience likes something about the radio station. They’ve been to your “restaurant” in the past week. They’re the perfect target audience. And you can promote to them for free.

Invest time and energy to write amazing morning show promos that accomplish at least one of the three goals. But the primary goal should be to influence a listener to take action and tune in tomorrow morning. This is the strategy Starbucks uses to recycle their audience. 


It’s hard to inspire listeners to change habits and tune into radio stations at different times of the day. But the very people that are most likely to be influenced by an advertising message (and that’s what promos are) already listen. All you have to do is give them reasons to listen more. And isn’t that easier than recruiting new listeners to try you out?

What’s your number and how does it impact the strategy behind morning show promos?

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