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Your Music Position...... "___ in a row!" Is it effective?

Posted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 12:48 pm
by bigstew
We have all heard it. 20 in a row, Your 104 songs in a row station, 12 in a row, whatever it may be! Does it really impact your listener? I submit this article to you today as professional programmers who are deeply concerned if your station is being effective. Take a step back to the days when you were a teenager listening to the radio. Did you once ever count how many songs in a row a radio station ever played? I didn't think so, so why would your listeners now? Would it be better to position your station as simply "more music" or "Most Music Guaranteed"? Is the ____ (Insert your stations number here) in a row an effective marketing tool? In todays PPM driven world, the fact of the matter is that is old school thinking. Unfortunately, some of the "old dog" programmers who wouldn't adapt to large market PPM driven radio, are now down in smaller markets and applying some of this old school wisdom to their stations. Then there are just people who were taught that this is the best thing since sliced bread! As Will Muschamp, coach of the Florida Gators says "Change is inevitable, growth is optional!" Well radio has changed a lot since 1985!

Let me put it to you another way, when you take a trip somewhere, lets say something simple like to the grocery store. Do you count how many telephone poles in a row it is to get there? No usually you say to a friend it is "about 5 minutes to the store from my house." That is something people understand! So if you speak like that in real life, why wouldn't you want to do that for your listeners. We all want to appear to play more music than anyone else, however with the options in todays world, when you go to a commercial, you are going to lose audience share and that is just the brass tacks of it. How you control that is what determines if you are going to be number one in your market or not. We all have to pay the bills, and as a programmer the age old fight of how many units per hour you should run to be successful no doubt rears its ugly head from time to time! If you find you have a lot of people wanting to advertise, why not let that drive up rate instead of time? I know that is something we cannot control, and a good topic for another day. I digress.

Some of the most successful radio stations I have ever been a part of have simply driven their music position home, without the in a row reference. If you are compelling, make each break count, and have your music dialed in, your commercials will seem irrelevant to the listeners. The question is how do you do that? There is no magic formula, as each community is different. If I knew the magic formula, I would be a very rich radio consultant!

So I ask you........ do you think the "20 in a row" reference is relevant in todays world, if so why? if you think otherwise, I would also be curious as to why. What works for you?

See you on the radio!

Big Stew

Re: Your Music Position...... "___ in a row!" Is it effectiv

Posted: Thu May 29, 2014 4:47 am
by pdjobs91462
Listeners don't care. Plus 20 in a row generally means you're playing bad songs to fill out the hour. IMO, play no more then 10 units an hour and brand yourself as "50 minutes of music, we only stop the music twice an hour".

Re: Your Music Position...... "___ in a row!" Is it effectiv

Posted: Wed Mar 09, 2016 4:13 am
by jcolletta275
Not effective at all. And the best way to mitigate listener loss in that regard is to sell one :30 between every two songs or so. And no, :60's are not an option. Nobody today will sit through a :60 on a music station. Just ain't happenin'.

Re: Your Music Position...... "___ in a row!" Is it effectiv

Posted: Wed Mar 09, 2016 7:53 am
by countryboy
"And probably not coming back for the second of those not music breaks."

If that was true, nobody would listen. But hundreds of millions do, so it's not. The commercial load really hasn't changed in 50 years. Station economies are built on it. You can do fewer commercials, but then you'd have to cut the budget even more drastically than it is now.

Statistically, lots of people sit through commercials. Over 90% of the audience stays when the commercials start. Maybe not you, maybe not your kids, but lots of people do. Shorter but more frequent breaks do not work any better. An interruption is the same, regardless of how long it is. Planning spot breaks isn't guess-work. We have miles of research on it, and what you hear on the radio works better than the alternatives you suggest.

Re: Your Music Position...... "___ in a row!" Is it effectiv

Posted: Wed Mar 09, 2016 8:33 am
by countryboy
"Is the ____ (Insert your stations number here) in a row an effective marketing tool?"

By phrasing it that way, it's a marketing department thing. Typically, they're the ones who come up with these ideas. Programmers then work with whatever number is decided. And no, programmers don't play "bad songs to fill out the hour." That's just stupid. You play the exact same songs regardless of what number the marketing people come up with. Is marketing effective? My answer is when it works, it is. When it isn't, it's time to get a new marketing department.

Re: Your Music Position...... "___ in a row!" Is it effectiv

Posted: Thu Mar 10, 2016 7:35 am
by countryboy
"Yeah, and I want to hear somebody honsetly tell me that they'd want THEIR business to be paying for the 7th spot in a 'break.' "

Nobody buys just one spot. And the way spot rotation works is you might be the 7th once and the 1st another time. Also, if someone tunes in to the station during the spot break, they're more likely to hear the 7th spot than the 1st.

But I thought this thread was about music, not spots.

Re: Your Music Position...... "___ in a row!" Is it effectiv

Posted: Thu Mar 10, 2016 8:22 am
by countryboy
BTW advertisers are given the chance to buy position in the cluster, but most don't. They know what they're buying.

Re: Your Music Position...... "___ in a row!" Is it effectiv

Posted: Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:28 am
by zebster
Define "effective'.
Explain how that is measured.
All the rest is opinion.
In MY opinion, the # of songs isn't a compelling selling point.
We call our long sets "Long Sets". They are what we say, but we're not straining ourselves to sell it.
In any event; it isn't a primary position for us.

Re: Your Music Position...... "___ in a row!" Is it effective?

Posted: Sun Jul 28, 2019 12:42 am
by viktorwilt
I don't see the point in referring to commercial breaks in a negative light through programming. Jocks should give extra love to advertisers who support the station. Show listeners the importance of our advertising clients. Radio is going to have commercials. Make them a positive thing.