In the olden days, there were two factors that were utmost for a radio station to succeed: Reach, and Frequency.
Reach was about the signal. Without a good signal, it was hard to build a bigger audience.
Frequency wasn’t about where on the dial a station was. It was about what are now called listening “occasions” – how often or how long someone chose to listen to you.
Today’s radio world is more varied in terms of reach. People can listen to online streaming, through your station’s app, or through several different “umbrella” radio apps. The transistor radio of the “Happy Days” generation is now simply your smartphone.
But frequency is still a huge challenge. Because of the way ratings are calculated, several instances of listening add up. It’s not only about someone turning it on and keeping it on. It’s also about someone coming BACK to you after turning it off or surfing for another station.
And the music game has changed, because through Amazon music, Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, etc. it’s now possible for me to hear every song you play WITHOUT you.
The lesson here is a simple one: if you want to be listened to nowadays, just providing the “right” songs isn’t enough anymore. You have to be engaging, entertaining, interesting, and RELEVANT.
Personality is the companion to – and with good formatics, part OF – the “listen”. Without personality, you’re just a playlist.
This doesn’t mean you have to be funny. Laughs are fine, but not required. Being a part of the listener’s day is about what I call “the touchstone” – you and me, connected BY the music and the Content. If you’re just looking for things you can add a punchline to, that’s just an exercise. What MATTERS to the Listener today is what you take, filter it through your own observations, experiences, and opinions, and put on the air.
Surprisingly, a lot of people have no real idea who their target listener is. If you don’t, talk to the PD asap.
Just remember: Everything you do that doesn’t matter (to the Listener)….doesn’t matter.
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Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2023 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.