Skip to content

21 for 21 … 21 Programming Ideas for the New Year 2021

Gary Berkowitz

By: Gary Berkowitz
Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting

As we enter 2021, here are 21 programming points that will help you construct a “solid foundation” for your station in the new year. As each of the 21 points are released, they will appear here. Please check out my YouTube videos at

1. The music library and what “variety” really means. There are two effective ways to build your music library. The first is by doing local research. That is the best way to get a feel from your listeners about the songs they like and don’t like as well as the songs they are most familiar with. If you cannot do local research, the next best tool are music panels. Subscribe to either Mediabase ( or BDS Radio ( Choose 5 – 6 stations in similar markets that are getting good ratings. You will quickly see the common songs and more important, the songs that only you are playing. Those should be the first to go. There are only so many hits. This exercise will help you focus the size and quality of your library and ensure you are closer to playing “the hits.”

Every listener will tell you they want “variety” on their station. Programmers who are playing too many songs will tell you they do so to have a good variety. Variety is NOT determined by the number of songs you play, but by the types of music you play and the tempo of the music you play. Do not be “the station that plays a lot of BAD songs mixed in with the GOOD ones.” Make sure you use many types of music (pop, rock, urban, etc.) When it comes to variety “more” is not better. See the video here:

2. “Companionship” is more important than “Content.” Sure content is the buzzword these days but it takes a special something to be considered a “companion”. Yes, its great to have both but nothing causes more occurrences of listening on a daily basis than being a “companion” that the listener enjoys spending time with day after day. Content may get em sometimes. Be their companion, and they will always be with you.

Low Hanging Fruit

Why is so much radio content “low hanging fruit”? Radio seems to always go for the easy to find, not always compelling material. One of the PD’s I work with refers to bad content as “low hanging fruit.” If you’re going to do content it must not only be compelling, but of high interest to your demos and listeners. After all, can you imagine “The Today Show” doing “This Day in History”? Not gonna happen! Unless you have killer content, another song will serve you better.

P1 Relationships

Do you have a “relationship” with your P1 core? The #1 and most important element to getting consistently strong ratings. You can play all the right songs, have all the right sweepers and the best jingles in the market. If you’re missing that hard to describe link that bonds the listener to your station, the ratings will most likely not be there. This is where your personalities come into play. They are “The Secret Sauce” between the music.

Likability is important

In sales they say “People buy from people they like.” In programming its “People listen to people they like.” Is your station likable? Think about “content or companionship.”

Gary Berkowitz is President of Detroit based Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting, specializing in ratings improvement for AC radio stations.

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

Scroll To Top