How To Create Videos That Spike Ratings

How To Create Videos That Spike Ratings

by Tracy Johnson

When I experienced the sheer power of this viral video from Hot 96.9 in Boston, it was clear that something major was going on. And there’s tremendous potential for air personalities to build a larger fanbase, drive ratings and greatly improve social media response. But there’s a trick to create videos that spike ratings.

Fortunately, it’s not hard, and you can do it in a few fast, easy steps.

Before reading how to make your own videos, read the case study of what happened in Boston. Here’s the link again. Okay, for those of you who still didn’t click, here’s the headlines:

  • Their Second Date Update feature was converted to a video by a listener.
  • It received over 90 MILLION views.
  • The video spread to mainstream media outlets and really took off.
  • They got ratings credit for online listening that took place on demand.

Do I have your attention? Good. Here’s how and why you should do it.

The Process to Create Videos That Spike Ratings

I know what you’re thinking: It’s hard to make a video. It takes time. Why can’t we just post the audio on demand as an mp3 or podcast? You can, of course. But it will have a small fraction of the social media spread. You have to make it a video. Videos get far more sharing.

It doesn’t have to be a video of your show performing the segment. The Hot 96.9 video was filmed by a listener holding his iPhone to the radio dial in his car. That’s all it was. The point is, it was a video, not an audio file.

Your video can be a static photo, a series of photos, as a slide-show or a simple video that has motion.

But, here’s an important tip: The graphic should not be your logo, a photo of your show or anything that looks like hype. It won’t get shared as much. There is a way to promote your brand, of course. Stand by, I’ll share that, too. Instead of a photo of you, find a graphic that represents the content in your segment. There are several online sources for free photos.

Step 1: Prepare Audio

First, identify the content that will become your video. This seems easy at first, but there’s a couple of important aspects if you’re in a Nielsen (USA) PPM market.

The audio must be the Nielsen encoded audio. Nielsen’s policy inexplicably allows a station to gain credit for listening to a segment on demand if it’s heard any time within 24 hours of the original airing. But for the meters to pick up the audio and award credit, the audio in your video must include the encoding. Double-check to insure that you’re getting encoded audio. Many of you assume that’s what’s being recorded. It’s likely not. And if it’s not, you aren’t getting ratings credit.

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The Audio must not be edited. It’s tempting to edit the original segment to make it better for distribution. If you do, you won’t receive ratings credit.

The audio must be at least five minutes long. Just like listening live in real time, listening for periods shorter than five minutes won’t be credited. You can edit two segments together to equal five minutes. For example, if it’s a two-part break that totals 6 minutes, edit them together and you’re good to go.

However, those two segments must have been originally aired in the same quarter-hour. If the two-parter is 3 minutes in one quarter hour and three minutes in another, you get no ratings credit.

This may cause you to re-think your clocks. That may seem crazy, but the ratings impact from creating videos from on-air segments could easily be worth it.

Step 2: Set Up The Video

There are dozens of software solutions to create videos from on-air segments. If you have a favorite, use it. This is one of the easiest ways to do it with presentation software like Powerpoint (PC) or Keynote (Apple).

These instructions are for creating on a Mac, but the process is nearly identical for a Windows user running Microsoft’s Powerpoint.

1) Open Keynote. Go to View>Show Inspector. In the upper right hand corner of the window on the right, click on Document. Then choose Slide Size, and choose a custom slide size of 1280 x 720. Pro tip: Once your first video is completed, save a copy of it as a template so you can skip this step in the future.

2) Add a Graphic(s). Insert a 1280 x 720 graphic on the first slide by dragging and dropping it in. Or, click on the Media icon.

3) Add Audio. Now just drag and drop your audio file onto the slide. Or, choose the same Media icon and browse your hard drive for the file.

It’s almost done. There’s just two more steps for your own videos that spike ratings.

Export Video


4) Record Video. The next step is to record the video. In the top menu, click Play>Record Slideshow. Then, click on the microphone icon on the bottom left corner of the screen. This will mute your computer’s microphone so the only audio is your file. When you’re ready, click the red record button and the slideshow will play, with your audio.

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5) Export Video. Now, the final step is to click on Share>Export>Quicktime and choose the Recorded Timing option. Format choices are pretty self explanatory, but let’s say you want to achieve maximum HD quality. Choose Custom, leave it at 1280 x 720, click Then choose these options:

Compression Type: H.264
Frame Rate: 30fps
Compress>Quality: Best
Data Rate (for HD): Restrict to 5000 k/bits sec
Optimized for: Streaming
Click “OK” and output the video.

Now there’s a video on the desktop ready to load to YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Instagram, your website, blog, etc.

The Finishing Touch

What about branding your show and driving tune in? No problem. You can add a personal message to the end of the video, with your photo and logo. If you create videos from on-air segments that are a recurring feature, be sure to promote tune-in times for your live episode. And, it’s a nice touch to add a link from the video to your website to hear other similar content.


Video is the name of the game. Yes, you’re in an audio medium, but you can use videos that spike ratings and enhance online presence. One of the easiest ways to do that is to create videos from on-air segments. It only takes a few minutes, and can have tremendous influence on social spread and ratings.

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