Do Your Homework Before Suggesting
March 12, 2013
As a programmer, I always encouraged my jocks to share programming ideas for their shows. Some were good, bad, need tweaking, or just were not the right time to execute. Here is a recent conversation with a personality needing advice on the subject.
Jock: I'm looking into the possibility of playing some retro or classic dance music on my Saturday shift.
Coach: Is it something that's been approved by the PD, or something you want to talk him into?
Jock: I have to discuss it with the PD.
Coach: Why do you think it's necessary to add it to your show?
Jock: I think that the older demo of listeners that call in may enjoy it.
Coach: Is it part of the station's target audience? Is the target 18-34 or 18-49?
Jock: When I first came to the station they were playing throwbacks; that's what attracted me to the station in the first place
Coach: But again, what age is the target? And are your music suggestions within that target?
Jock: The target demo is women. I think its 25-34. I'm also looking into the possibility of having it sponsored.
Coach: The retro should therefore be based on the age of that audience and their definition of retro.
Jock: t's okay with me. I would like to include earlier '80s hits as well. But I have to have an idea of what I'm talking about before I talk to him.
Coach: The main thing is you have to make your case based on the programming goals for your shift. If you are choosing music for 40-year-olds or older, the PD might reject your idea.
It is easy to figure out the music to suggest, do the math and calculate the year a 30-year-old was 15. It is a good age to select because it's when the life of a teenager is basic -- music, food, school, and puppy love. The age selected splits the difference on either side of the overall target demo of 25-34. I did the calculations for you, 1998, which would be 10th grade for most.
Jock: That's true, but I might get away playing one or two '80s an hour.
Coach: Again, let me remind you, the PD is programming for the majority of the target, not a percentage which might have only a 70 to 80% recognition level of a song. It is very likely your station's music is based on whatever research is available; therefore do not get your hopes up for any '80s music.
Jock: Okay, but that's where I come in to teach the listener.
Coach: Community radio educates, commercial radio reflects and informs what the majority of the audience listens to in a PPM and Diary world.
Jock: Even a retro show?
Coach: Yes, and you have to play music considered retro for the age bracket and the PD's vision. You have to stop living in a bubble; thinking in terms of only your show and pay attention to the entire station.
I could see this jock was obviously concerned about his show and that is a good thing. If you are in a similar situation, I suggest you do your homework before approaching your OM or PD with an idea. Begin by asking questions to get a better understanding of the station's goals in terms of the target demographic. During jock meetings take notes and think about what's said, then a day or two later, after you have had some time to mull things over, get with your OM or PD for clarification on things you are not sure of. This is how you learn, grow and contribute.