The Secret To Higher Ratings
November 1, 2011
So I'm going through a pile of mail, when I come across an envelope from the ABC Radio Network that really jumps out at me. See, the address label reads:
Mr. Jack James or current Program Director.
Does ABC know something I don't?
Radio is about to lose another nice guy.
The continuity director for the production department of the AM station in our cluster has turned in his letter of resignation, and there's no talking him out of it.
"My wife wants me to get a real job," he admits to me.
His wife has a real job, is the big breadwinner of the family, and she's been nagging Craig to make something of himself. In fact, Craig went back to school about a year-and-a-half ago, taking night courses to complete work on a BA, so it's not like his resignation is a complete surprise to me. But...
"Sure I can't change your mind with some CDs and T-shirts?" I ask playfully.
"You know you'll miss fighting with the sales department. Maybe you'd like to keep your pager, just for old times' sake?"
I'll miss Craig, as will everyone in our cluster. He has a great attitude, works hard, and really cares about doing great radio. Having Craig around is like having a second set of ears; he catches questionable spots and alerts programming before any damage can be done on the air.
He starts this week as a high school science teacher and football coach.
PPM monthly is here. Up across the board for the AMs and FMs in our cluster.
(Whew!) Of course, it's only one month.
You can always tell when there's good news. It spreads quickly through the building. Co-workers keep popping up in my doorway, offering congratulations and pats on the back. When the news isn't so good, people stay away; either they're unsure of what to say, or they think you might bring them bad luck.
I wish I could tell you the magic formula for great PPM ratings, but if I told you, I'd have to kill you. Seriously, I believe a PD's success has a lot to do with luck and being in the right place at the right time. PDs probably get more credit than they deserve when they have a good book, and more blame than they deserve when they have a bad book.
Over the years, I've worked at a few wildly successful radio stations, and I've worked at stations that barely had an Arbitron pulse. What I've discovered is, sometimes the things that make you successful at one station don't translate at the next. Likewise, I've seen top-rated air personalities in one market die in another. It's an inexact science.