By: 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.