Thursday, July 30, 2009

Applying PPM Lessons From Morning Usage And Behavior To All Listeners

I'll leave questions of reliability and projectability of the PPM morning quantitative numbers to others, but one thing we've always known is certainly demonstrated by the micro-trends PPM measurement permits: morning drive listeners' tune in and out at a rapid pace, especially in what has always been known as "The Power Hour," 7-8 am.

And, as Morning Show Boot Camp discussions today in Nashville show, talent is learning that the majority of your audience is only catching bits and pieces as they hurry through their morning routine.

As a result, it is easy to feel you are being somewhat redundant after a while if you are looking at the entire show from start to finish.

The time-tested advice has been to look at the morning show as several "15 minute mini-shows" instead of one long show and PPM certainly vindicates this technique.

Make sure you deliver all the important elements such as weather, time checks, news, traffic, topical information, etc. in each of those "mini-shows." Understand what your listeners expect from you and over-deliver on that, eliminating things which take away from that usage driver.

It will also sound less redundant if you relate information such as the weather in the way it will effect the listener I.E.: "take your umbrella today...more rain in the forecast." However, it's also traditional wisdom to benchmark each important service/information element with your station name and a unique identity, such as "traffic and weather together," or "the official FM weather station," but why do that if five other stations also use those phrases and every station also does them?

The diary was about branding elements for memorability. In a metered world, it all comes down to understanding what your partisans use you for and delivering that a lot.

The jury is still out on 'no talk segues' for me. No doubt they extend usage, having removed any indication that the momentum is stopping. But, when doing music sweeps in morning drive (even two songs back to back) I still encourage personalities to very quickly tease what is coming up, ID and position the station, cross-promote to another listening occasion.

My thinking: listening lengths are short in the morning, and "no talk segues" may send the message that "this show is boring and never gives me the services I need." If someone is listening for a specific bit of information such as traffic, weather, etc. they are less likely to tune elsewhere to find it if they know it's only moments away.

What's working for you? It's a brave new PPM world, especially in mornings. We're all on a learning curve right now, making adustments, watching the competition, making the most of a totally new way of looking at almost everything.

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