Fast Tracking Heritage and Success
January 11, 2013
As every year goes by, it is definitely tougher to capture our audience's attention......to force them to cume our stations and ideally get repeat tune ins over time longer and more loyal listening..............
We all hear comments about radio not being as relevant or 'cool' as it once was.............we are all rightly fascinated by the impact of other ''radio'' such as Pandora, but the best ways to achieve success in radio programming.. and build ratings and revenue.... is still to spend more time on the content. Not a sexy response I agree, but.............nothing can cover up....
- a poor strategy
- poor tactics
- or poor execution.
I see far too many programmers getting sidetracked and not spending enough time on the product. Yes, programmers need to be across social networking ... we have all seen the power of facebook, for example - it's a bums on seats issue. Get the ''likes'' up, and you will build your P1 listenership ... and using FB as a bouncing pad for your programming can be helpful. But if Social Networking takes up 30% of their day, then the content - particularly for The Morning Show - needs to account for at least another 50%!
There is plenty of evidence that shows that Radio's Secret Sauce is made up of...
PROGRAMMERS WHO DARE TO STAND OUT.
COMPELLING CONTENT THAT CREATES TALK AND RECALL.
UNIQUELY ENTERTAINING ON-AIR TALENT WHO CAN TELL GREAT STORIES.
ENGAGING PROMOTIONAL CONCEPTS THAT ARE 'GOOD FOR THE LISTENER, GOOD FOR THE STATION, GOOD FOR THE CLIENT.'
Together, these are the cornerstones of great radio, and it is this special combination that drives audience growth and revenue generation for the most successful stations on the planet.
In many ways it's this ''almost'' conventional outlook that wins radio battles in these unconventional times.
Right now I'm working pretty hands on with about 35 morning shows, in markets as diverse as South Africa, England, Sydney and Romania, and there is amazing commonality between the winning stations no matter what format, from youth CHR to Classic Rock. It all starts with great content and storytelling, and programmers need to spend more time developing this skill among their key talent.
In many markets listeners ''decide'' pretty quickly WHETHER A SHOW OR A PERSONALITY IS GOING TO WORK (in Australia a morning show has about 4 months to succeed.........TV of course allows about 2 episodes).
So in 2013, success needs to come faster than ever before. Programmers need to .....
Speed up the future.
Force listeners to become engrossed in the soap opera that is their morning show.
It's all about Fast Tracking Heritage or forcing instant heritage.
By this we mean..................
Helping listeners form quicker bonds with Morning Shows.
Fast tracking compelling and engaging content that demands talk and recall.
Creating soap operas with cliffhangers that listeners become addicted to:
- Personal Storytelling so we get to know the personalities............ only when we know them do we begin to care
- Turning Topical into Primal (an old Mark Ramsay tactic)...
It's pretty easy to do topical, hence everyone does it. Every morning show can reflect the hot topics of the moment. Not everyone can take this topicality and make it original. Doing interesting and different things with topicality can give you the edge, and as discussed before, this allows you to "make the news and not just report the news."
One way to do this is to consider the use of Cliffhangers and Story Arcs. Here in the US, for instance, "Reality Radio" really took off with "2 Strangers And A Wedding" at WTMX, KLOS and WPLJ. Since then around the world there have been many similar great story arc style campaigns that have delivered stations and morning shows in particular 3-4 weeks of un-missable content.
Other examples, some noted here before, include:
Date My Dad ....a 4 week soap opera where the kids pick dads new partner.
A campaign where the prize is a week in a hospital complete with all meals, sponge baths and blood transfusions.
The Bizarre Love Triangle........a guy... a girl and an ex lover in one bed for a week. Leave the bed, you lose.
Obsession...Where we are after the country's biggest fans go head to head in the search for ultimate glory.
Your morning show team become Dads overnight, inheriting 2 kids for a week. Who will survive??
Second Chance......Imagine...a listener gets to relive one event from their past.....same place, same people...but with a completely different outcome. This campaign gives a listener a second chance.............
There's a surefire way to get and keep the attention of your audience:
- Put on a soap opera.
- Provide compelling content that engages the audience and forces talk and recall.
- Give them real life.
- Go inside people's lives, find out what turns them on, and make a difference by touching their emotions with mystery, sensuality and intimacy.
Next week we will delve deeper into the concept of fast tracking heritage with a heap of examples.
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