Friday, December 31, 2004

Are you utterly predictable?

I love reading news-talk consultant Holland Cooke's colorful writing style in his idea-filled monthly newsletter. For example in the January 2005 issue he says:

Does your take on the topic at hand ever surprise regular listeners? Or are you utterly predictable?

Tip: You’re better off being remarkable…literally. Once in a while, take a position that would cause regular listeners to remark.

Why: Arbitron’s unaided recall methodology measures what diarykeepers REMEMBER. So you want to avoid the day-to-day sameness that threatens heavy users’ remembering how-heavily they listened. Listeners need to be exercised, or their recall will atrophy. Make people think, and you’ll ensure that they remember having listened.

Promotions: There’s still time to exploit the Super Bowl.

Sales: Think Consumer Electronics, Food, and Furniture categories.Fact: The only day of the year when Americans eat more is Thanksgiving.

Several client stations are throwing Super Bowl parties at which we’ll give away an expensive new TV, or “the best seat in the house” for the big game, a recliner.

Promotions and Sales: Have you finalized plans to mail valentines to women in your station’s database?

They could be cute E-mails, or endearingly traditional snailmail cards. And either could come with a Valentine’s Day gift, perhaps a cute coupon from a sponsoring station advertiser.

You DO have a listener database, right? Email addresses you’ve saved, contest entries, etc.?

Have you finalized plans for St. Patrick’s Day yet? (March 17)

For at least one day, EVERYONE – listeners and advertisers -- is at-least-a-little Irish.

Baseball: It’s not too late to make plans for Spring Training!

Think your listeners are winter-weary NOW? Wait until March! After all the sub-freezing days and nights that chill much of the USA – and various bombshell player trades and signings – The Boys of Summer will be a welcome sound to listeners.

Why doing so has value:

· It’s local, high-affinity, station-pertinent content that is – as I used the term above – “remarkable.” Just hearing that the lads are limbering up under palm trees will make folks back home feel a tad warmer. Listeners will remember listening when you say, “LET’S GO LIVE TO ORIOLES SPRING TRAINING IN FORT LAUDERDALE!”

· It’s a money-maker, more baseball inventory. Bundle Spring Training coverage with regular season packages. Or bonus it as a closer for sponsors who commit early.

· It’s a schmooze! Take those early-committing advertisers on a junket! I doubt that the newspaper will. You’ll be in solid.

· It’s a spiff! The rep who writes the most early baseball business gets to host the junket. Or the advertiser could give away the trip, to a listener who registered at the store. If the team doesn’t offer an all-inclusive trip package, put your own together. If you can’t trade, this needn’t be expensive. I just booked my annual trip to the O’s camp in Lauderdale and got great hotel rates, right on A1A, from And now that airlines themselves are competing with Priceline, the airlines’ own web sites offer inexpensive fares that don’t necessarily require Saturday night stay.

News is made in training camp. In March, “name” player cuts and trades are headlines, not sports headlines. But the Spring Training is story is more about…stories. Do lots of color.

· Have your reporter Email-back digital photos for the station’s web site, establishing your presence there. If you do a clientjunket, include their smiling, sunburned mugs. Ditto for contest winners.

· Use travelogue to place the listener on-scene. As you’re landing, record the flight attendant’s announcement, which generally includes the present temperature. And occasionally announce temps for your team’s camp at the end of weather forecasts.

· Spring training is a rich interview opportunity.

Hooked? Get the Holland Cooke Newsletter · January ‘05 at · 401-330-6868 · Fax: 720-293-0802 ·

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