All posts by Gary Berkowitz

All Things Christmas

Gary Berkowitz

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of the above article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By: Gary Berkowitz
President, Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting

“It’s all about how you decorate your station for the holidays.

Here’s a programming checklist and suggestions as we approach Christmas.

Programming checklist/suggestions as we approach Christmas:

  1. The on-air presentation should remain up and contemporary. Sometimes when stations go to all Christmas music, the jocks tend to “soften” or bring the presentation down. The on-air delivery should be up, fun and exciting.
  2. When opening the mic, the jocks should always open with a line like: B106.1 The Christmas Music Station. (Please do not refer to the music as “Holiday Music” always call it Christmas music).
  3. Other key Positioning lines to consider:
    • 100% Christmas Music
    • All Christmas Music, All The Time
    • Non Stop Christmas Music
    • All Your Christmas Favorites all Season
  4. Reinforce these lines every time. Not just sometimes. It’s critical to drive home the “All Christmas” message. It will not get tired.
  5. The goal is to “dress up the station” with Christmas cheer. This is a six-week tactic. Sound great and get all the ratings credit.
  6. The right music list repeats a lot. You may get some complaints. That’s ok. Wondering about your list? Call me and I’ll tell you.
  7. Dress the website for Christmas. Use the line “The Christmas Music Station.” It’s very important that when a listener goes to the website, it reflects what you are doing on the air. Same for Facebook pages. Do what you can with them to make it look like Christmas.
  8. Have high production values. Use lots of holiday jingles. If you cannot get new Christmas jingles in time, take your current ones, and be creative. Add bells, chimes, and ho-ho-ho’s to make them sound Christmas.
  9. It’s all about Christmas. All live liners and recorded sweepers refer to Christmas.
  10. Get involved with as many Christmas promotions as possible. Local sings, shows that are coming to town (Radio City Music Hall Christmas, etc). Look at a contest tactic like “Christmas Song of the Day.”
  11. Attention diary markets: No matter what the Arbitron, Ooops, I mean Nielsen people tell you, change your Arbitron SIP. Make sure it says “Christmas Music” “Xmas music” etc.

Before his current tenure as President of the company that bares his name, Gary Berkowitz spent many years being involved in every aspect of the operation and management of some of America’s most successful radio stations. Gary was the first Program Director at the legendary PRO-FM, Providence. He transformed WROR, Boston from an Oldies station to what would become one of the first AC’s in the US. Gary then went to Detroit for Capital Cities Communications to program News-Talk powerhouse WJR, and WHYT. Under Gary’s leadership WHYT experienced the highest ratings ever as a CHR. The next step was when Gary launched one of the first Hot AC’s, Q95, Detroit with another #1 success story.

Gary started his Detroit-based Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting in 1990 and has been helping AC stations grow and achieve higher ratings ever since. Results driven, attentive and highly passionate best describes his style. In 2012 he was inducted to the Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame as well as the WERS (Emerson College, Boston) Radio Hall of Fame.

Editorial: Station Information Packets, Old School Marketing Techniques That Still Work and Show Your PD Some Love!

Gary Berkowitz_300By: Gary Berkowitz
Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting

The Nielsen reporting process with SIP’s (station information packets) can affect your ratings. Return your SIP every book. Make sure air talents are not rushing through or not selling calls and frequency. The #1 goal is to do everything to insure listeners know who they are listening to for increased recall.

GM’s & Owners: Programmers need love too! Have a weekly meeting or lunch out of the station to catch up and allow your PD quality time for important matters. Tell a jock you heard a good break. Send a note after a jock does a nice job at a remote. Walk by the studio and give thumbs up.

Do you have a “relationship” with your P1’s? This is the #1 and most important way to achieve strong ratings. You can play all the right songs; have all the right sweepers and the best jingles in the market. If you’re missing that hard-to-describe link that bonds the listener to your station, the ratings will most likely not be there. Remember the old saying “People Listen to People They Like.” Is your station likable?

Loyal listener databases still work. A little “old school” can go a long way. The days of unlimited marketing budgets are long gone. Take advantage of technology that is sitting on your desk today and is free. A listener database is a great way to speak to your best listeners and thank them with special offers that mean something to them. Many stations are wasting this by dumping worthless promotions into these databases. “Here’s whats happening at WAAA” does not mean anything. It sends out a message that communication from my favorite station is really spam.

Better: Send out an e-mail blast on Wednesday that says when you will play a secret song on Thursday. Give a “special number” to call to win $100. Make sure they understand that this contest is only for them (those who received the email). For $100 a week (less than some spend on lunch) you may set yourself up for a ratings spike. Don’t forget to start asking new people to sign up for your database.

“Change” is not adult radio’s friend. This is especially important with female based formats. When thinking about adjustments, think them over carefully. When changes in programming are made on a whim it could ultimately hurt or even worse, open up an opportunity for a competitor. By the way, listeners are more aware of on-air changes than we think. Yes, they hear that “extra spot.”

The earlier the better with marketing. If you are marketing for the book, starting early in the book is preferred. Many believe that it takes 60-90 days for changes to affect a rating book. Whether or not that is true, it makes sense to start early, and allow the cumulative effect of your marketing affect the book. This is especially important in one or two book markets.