Get A Grip!
March 18, 2013
The BBC has long been criticised for not fulfilling its public obligations, and half the public have less trust in the BBC in the past 12 months than they had previously.
Recently, however, they must be congratulated for a common sense attempt to measure and evaluate the performance of their presenters.
For those who haven't heard, that attempt was to simply call for each DJ on the BBC's Radio 2 channel to be given ''marks out of 10" for their programs ... i.e. connection with listeners - 8 out of 10, ratings performance - 9 out of 10, etc.
Seems reasonable, no? To me this is just simple accountability, but such a rating system was apparently "a step too far" in the minds of some presenters, who were said to revolt against the idea once it was announced.
The result was that rating DJ performance by social media name checks and online downloads was allowed....... but marks out of 10 were banished. So each Radio 2 DJ now has a dedicated whiteboard with a "checklist" of "measurables" against which performance is judged, including the number of tracks played, how many times they were referenced on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and how many times their programmes were downloaded, but again, there is no actual scoring of their performance.
What a load of crap! On its own, this is just another example of the BBC ... or its presenters/DJ's anyway ... not living in the real world.
A Radio 2 spokeswoman said, "It is routine good practice to discuss our programmes regularly to ensure we are offering listeners the best service possible," which is all well and good, but I'm sorry ... simply looking at how many times a programme is downloaded just doesn't cut it!!
In other words, my advice to the presenters who object to the marks out of 10 policy at Radio 2 is this - get a grip!
In the real world, every presenter/DJ has targets they need to hit, whether they are ratings goals and /or performance thresholds. Miss the targets, you are out!
I know plenty of presenters who have been outed when the numbers fall below the agreed level......it's built into their contract!
Facebook ... Twitter ... website hits ... the size of their social footprint ... yes, that is all part of it, but ..... a colleague of mine, seen as one the best programmers in the world, hires based on the size of an applicant's footprint and bonuses the talent based on scores out of 10 per show.
My own feeling is that this is a proper approach. In working with around 100 Morning Shows over the past 12 months, for instance, I have adopted a similar approach ... and I can think of 7 that are not trending up.
I judge a morning show on many things, but in particular:
- The number of Great moments in the peak two hours (I'm looking to achieve 8 in the two hours)
- 14 Touch points (times we mention something that can be considered an audience 'hot button')
Not to mention utilities like Time calls, weather, forward momentum and branding.
In Australia, I use the following criteria to track the development of a Morning Show, scoring them every 3 months.
- Ability to Seize The Moment
- Relevant Local Content
- Entertaining B/Marks & Contests
- Show Heritage
- Radar & Traffic
- Famous for one thing
- Prep Values
- News & Weather
- Broad Appeal
- Production Values
- TOTAL SCORE (Weighted)
When you think about it, the only true way for a station and its presenters to see the future is with certain studies where you can track the development of talent, for instance, with internal systems ... scorecards if you like ... and, of course, with your ears. What are your ears telling you?
- Is the morning show getting better or going downhill?
- Highpoints / Lowpoints
- The Critical Issues to Fix
- Review Breakfast Talent
- Support Team
- Role Definitions. Are they correct?
- Examine Formguide & Benchmark Features . Do we win?
- Specifically, where will our 8 great pieces per morning come from?
- Set Breakfast Goals for the next ratings period
The BBC may be able to take short cuts...the rest of us just need to do the work.