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12 Proven Strategies to Grow Ratings

Gary Berkowitz

By: Gary Berkowitz
Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting

One of the most exciting parts of my job is to work all over the US in many different markets. In this post, I will share the important points that come up most often in market after market.

Identifying music is a major benefit to female listeners. When you bring up selling of music most agree that it is very important, and their favorite station does not always do it. We (radio people) think they know all the songs. They (listeners) disagree. They wonder why their favorite station does not do a better job of telling them the songs played. Putting this info on your website is a step in the right direction, but not what they really want, which is to hear it on the air. This especially applies to newer and re-current songs.

“Good Chemistry” the top attribute in AM Drive. When asked why they liked their favorite morning show the word “chemistry” came up time after time. The relationship of the players and how they get along on the air is key critical. Important issues in the morning are “fun” shows (not to be confused with funny) as well as shows they are “used to and comfortable with.”

Benchmarks are out. Commenting on the day’s “news and events” is in. Most listeners agree that they want their morning show to discuss what is happening at that moment. It is sure a lot more important than a benchmark such as “Dumb Criminal News” (yes, believe it or not some shows still do this!).

Music is still important in the morning. As usual, listeners want it all. They want a show with fun people having a good time, but they also want a lot of music. Please do not overlook the power and importance of music in the morning.

Don’t overlook the power of information. Weather, traffic and news updates are very important to the listener.

Pop Culture? Low on the AC appeal scale. In market after market and study after study the appeal of pop culture is low among AC listeners. Plus, in most markets there is one station that is known for pop culture reporting. If it is not you, go down a different road, Relationships, family matters, health etc. There is a huge supply of great content that is not all about the Kardashians.

Keep it live but watch the talk. They like DJ’s but not talky ones. Keep the talk breaks crisp, short and to the point. It is like I always say; Successful AC stations are not personality driven, but they must “have a personality” to succeed.

Morning and night personalities are the best known. In most groups, listeners were very unsure of the midday and afternoon personalities. For stations that have their own love songs host, there is usually good familiarity.

AC music stations are described as “Easy listening/Softrock/Pop music.” Familiarity with the music continues to be key. As we have always said, AC female listeners “Know what they like, and like what they know.” Never underestimate the power of familiarity with your music, your personalities and overall station sound/feel. Now more than ever, play the hits.

AC radio is a “safe haven” for women 35-54. They know it by the music we play and the way we present ourselves. They say there is no need to talk about “family friendly.” How do you communicate it? They say, “Just Do It.”

P1 women like to play contests. The prize is not always as important as the chance to win. Prizes such as theatre tickets, weekend getaways, dinners at restaurants and tickets to shows (concerts) are all good. “Entertaining contests” seem more important to many of these listeners versus the actual prize itself.

Stopping fewer times, each hour is preferred. Most listeners like the 2-stop clocks but are aware that they will “pay for it” (their words) in the end. They do however feel it is better to stop less often even if it means more spots. The one common comment heard in market after market is they feel all stations play too many commercials.

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.

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