CPR Promotional Check-Up - May 22, 2012
May 22, 2012
You are DAYS away from the start of Summer, so, how did you do in terms of bulking up for Summer? Because when it comes to concerts and other huge community events, whoever has the most bodies wins.
Here, again, is my mathematical equation for how many interns you should have when the end of May hits. In a market the size of Memphis or Vegas or Portland or Charlotte? 20. You'll lose three immediately. Either to paying gigs or to disillusionment. You'll have 12 by the 4th of July and around August 1st, they'll start shedding away as college looms, they burn out, die or are arrested. You'll usually limp into September 1st with five or six lifers. (Hire them)(Immediately)
Rachel at WIOG in Saginaw goes out every Spring and WORKS the market. Hits every college and school posting notices. And consistently, every year, he has better interns then everybody else combined. But she doesn't wait for them to call her. She goes after them.
So, Job #1? Get your Warm Bodies.
Then, Job #2? Train them. Giving them a manual to read insures that they'll skim it and then be surprised when you show up at a remote and are mad when none of them are in station gear.
Rick Thomas and I did the first Street School at Clifton's station in Phoenix. This followed the Promotion Director handing out manuals, which none of them read.
Why should you do a Street School? Because these people are the face of the radio station, our customer service representatives, our first line of defense, and frankly, the kid who handed you your fries at the drive-thru last night probably got more training in how to deal with the public then any radio station intern ever gets.
Where To Do It
Away from the station. A park. A restaurant. A client's location. Sticking them in a conference room immediately kills the vibe. KSFM in Sacramento did a few at the PD's backyard pool. It was fun. Not threatening. They bonded. It was great.
How To Begin
Clear Channel in Minny usually does theirs at the picnic ground at the theme park in one of the pavilions. The Marketing Director, followed by the Promotion Directors, followed by the Coordinators, all get up, introduce themselves and tell how they came to be where they are. (Most came up through the ranks from being interns.) The GM sometimes will get up and say a little about the history and background of the cluster.
Go around and let every new person stand up, tell a little bit about themselves. "My name is Paige, I go to North Hennepin Technical College, my major is Mortuary Science and I breed ferrets."
Start At The Beginning
I always begin by asking the assembled group "How do radio stations make money?" This is usually met by blank stares and then someone will offer tentatively "They get paid for playing songs?" (EVERY time) And I say "Only in certain companies and only in upstate New York." There's usually someone who will say "Advertising?" And that starts the ball rolling.
How Ratings Work
We explain that the station sells commercials and that, the more people that listen, the more money we can charge for a commercial. I then ask "And how do we know how many people listen to our radio station?" (Blank stares) And I explain Arbitron and the fact that some lady with her hair in curlers sitting at a cigarette-burn scarred card table in a trailer park is right now drinking a Mr. Pibb, staring at a survey and trying to remember who she listened to that week because some company sent her this danged thing to fill out.
And that, as Street Teamers, if they go out, and shake lots and lots and lots and lots of hands, and if every little 8 second interaction they have with the public is good, and they're polite and courteous and informed about their product, odds are that occasionally they are going to come across someone who is/will be filling out one of these danged surveys.
We've started working PPM into the mix and explaining that concept to them too.
Clifton believes, and I concur, that if we started a station tomorrow, new signal, new station, and if the music was decent and the signal listenable, and if we went out and shook hands with 25% of the people in the market in the first 90 days, we'd debut at #1.
I've seen new morning shows do variations of this and debut hugely. So it certainly can't hurt.
So I write on our big easel the number of people in the market, divide that by 4, and then divide that number by 90. Which leaves us with the number of people PER DAY that we need to go out and shake hands with in our fishing expedition for surveys. Did it in Boise last May. The number was 1388 hands. A day.
You aren't going to get that many handshakes (I explain) sitting at a remote. You need to go in search of where they are. Which leads us to?
Where Should We Go This Summer?
The great thing about Street Teamers is that they haven't been in Radio long enough to get screwed up. They have fresh perspective. So I flip over the sheet on the easel and ask, "Where are there places that we can find hands to shake?" And they'll start throwing out suggestions. Specific parks or beaches or events or other places that the station should have on its radar. This ends up usually being a terrific source of info and date.
Do's & Don'ts
This is the time that we remind them that, again, they have 8 seconds to make either a good impression or a bad impression, and that will forever be that person's memory of the station.
- Don't smoke at events
- Don' talk on your cell at events
- Don't eat at events
- Listen to the station when you're in the van
- Be informed with what the station is doing so you can knowledgably answer the myriad of questions the audience is going to have
- Wear clean station gear
- You're on stage. Remember that. Don't swear. Don't try to pick up people
- Don't sit at the booth. It makes you look bored and unapproachable
- Don't "get into it" with the competition
How To Set Up An Event
Usually we'll randomly pick a half dozen of them and have them, with the help of a coordinator, set up a remote. Then critique them. Clear Channel in Minny turns this into a Goofus & Gallent act and shows the kids how NOT to act at a remote. And even more importantly, how to interact with THE CLIENTS.
How To Banner
By far the most important part of the exercise. We do a 30 minute bannering exercise and explanation of how people actually find their way to showing up at one of our remotes. And it's usually not because they heard it on the air. It's because they were driving by and saw this massive dog and pony show set up. In Omaha, we went to a strip mall and used the entire neighborhood as the template. In Philly, we used an Akon concert at the Wachovia Center as the bannering exercise. Q-102 showed up at 5 pm and looked shell-shocked.
How To Do Call-Ins
If your Street Teamers are allowed to do call-ins, then we teach them how to do it. I use Strawberry from 101.5 Jamz in Phoenix's "Burning Building Theory Of Call-Ins" to explain how to prioritize what you talk about and when it should go in your call-in. Basically, these calls are painting a picture of what is happening where they are. If you DON'T allow street team calls, I remind them that they should never leave the station without telling the jock where they are going, so he/she can talk about it. I have a manual on call-ins if you'd like it.
Take twenty minutes and have them throw out ideas for stuff that is coming up. "What would be a great way to give out backstage passes for Summer Jam?" "What should we do at our booth at the Fair this year?" The best ideas in the world? Come from interns. Because they haven't heard all the BS excuses about why we can't do stuff. They still believe that anything is possible. (And it is). I suggest that they always keep their eyes and ears open for ways to improve on what we do, and also, again, places we should be at. Nothing ever gives someone a sense of "ownership" in the product more then a feeling that their opinion is appreciated.
"Your Delta Name Is "Flounder""
This is supposed to be a fun, bonding day for them. Play some games. Have some fun. The coordinator at CBS in Kansas City so scared the kids with rules and threats that by the time I rolled in, they were frightened little puppies. Essentially ruined.
We usually end the thing with going around and assigning them their Street Team name for the summer. Because "Let's check in with Tats down at Lake Calhoun" sounds a lot more him then "Let's check in with Teresa". (Sorry to all the Teresa's out there)
The names from one of the sessions last Spring included Bam Bam, The Gooch, McLovin', Jail Bait and Double D.
If, by doing Street School, you actually help to "land" a diary or two, and can cut down on your complaint calls from clients by even 10%, then it was a day well-spent