Fall Book Prep: 10 Areas to Review for a Strong Ratings Performance

Gary Berkowitz

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

By: Gary Berkowitz
Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting

(The Fall book starts September 14th)

Hard to believe, but in diary markets, the fall book starts in one month. Since I am a big believer in “being brilliant with the basics” here are 10 programming musts if you want a good outcome when the books are released.

1. Keep the music familiar and focused. Take no chances on unfamiliar music. Check the log carefully daily for balance and flow. Avoid clumping of any same sounds. Keep the tempo “even.”

2. Sell the music position and the benefits of listening to the station. Music is the #1 reason people listen to the radio. Sell your music quantity and quality benefits. Specific music quantity benefits work much better than generic. Example: “Continuous Half Hours” and “7-In-A-Row” is better than “Long Sets.”

3. Own AT WORK. Promote the benefits of listening at work. Especially in AM Drive.

4. Morning fun! Keep the morning show bright, up and most important, loaded with interesting, fun, compelling material. Remember, there is a difference between “fun” and “funny.” If your morning show is music based, make sure to keep the music as the star.

5. Branding. Make sure to attach your calls to all services and features. Make sure it’s not “traffic” versus “WXXX Traffic.” Sell your positioning statement & key benefits. Always when going back to music from spots. Always on the end of Weather when going back to music.

6. Use as much “Appointment” promotion as possible. Keep em coming back for more. Make sure each morning show promo has a specific reason and time for tune-in. Same applies to the morning show. Pre-promote ahead to take the most advantage of content breaks.

7. Keep listener testimonials fresh & real. Listener testimonials can be very strong weapons to credibly promote the key station benefits. Make sure all testimonials talk about a specific thing such as morning show, most music, Best Music etc. Avoid “stroke” testimonials such as “we love you.” Live testimonials versus those done on the phone sound and work better.

8. Watch the talk. Keep the personality but also keep a lid on extra, non-essential talk. It is amazing how much unnecessary talk happens on radio stations.

9. Sell “More Music Weekends.” Many stations have a much more music intense sound on the weekend. Take advantage of this and promote as a benefit. “Weekends always mean more music” or “It’s a more music weekend.”

10. Production elements. Make sure all liners and sweepers clearly promote the strategy. If it’s more music, focus on it and sell it hard. Work in some jingle cuts you have not used in a while. Look at prior packages that have not been used recently. If re-writing liners/sweepers be careful not to lose the basic point; listening benefits.

Gary Berkowitz is President of Detroit based Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting, specializing in ratings improvement for AC radio stations. www.garyberk.com

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