Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Chuck Geiger wrote:
What is on the horizon in 2010 for Country programming?

My thoughts:

-Music: In 2010, 50% of 18-49 will be the Taylor Swift generation, 36% Gen X and only 13% leading edge boomers. This will prove to be a game-changer and a huge growth opportunity for country, as long as we understand the underlying values which unite our transitioning community.

-Imaging: Crisp, concise and compelling.

-Stationality: No more shouting at listeners in 80's CHR style. More authentic, funny, listener-driven.

-Morning Shows: Benchmarks and bits are replaced by today's hot topics, interacting with listeners about them in entertaining ways.

-Talent and VT development: No more punching out six hours of v/t's in 45 minutes with no prep. 2010 country listeners want to help create our content, using all forms of new and old media. Construct a social network which shares on all of your traditional and new media channels.

-Social Media: Don't put Facebook on your show, put your show on Facebook, on your blog, your podcasts, your texting. Allow listeners to have a voice in the music you play, but not in the old one person's request changes the station way of thinking. Listeners vote, and see how others vote, to champion their favorite songs and artists.

-Marketing: Viral and buzz, driven by content + direct marketing to hot zips + TV to own the proper music quality image and give free samples of the product. Thank goodness over the air and cable TV both still need to trade with us. Be smart about your trades and concentrate force for maximum reach and frequency on a consistent basis. Loyalty marketing to drive more listening occasions daily and more days per week.

-Research: Online music and perceptual research is now virtually free to everyone, so if you aren't doing it, your competition may know more about your listeners than you do. If that's the case and your in-house research efforts raise more questions than you can answer, it's going to be increasingly helpful in 2010 to hire an expert. A few years ago, everyone was doing traditional strategic studies and auditorium testing. In 2010, only the big winners will be doing it, making it more useful than ever, even more worth the money it costs.


Michael O'Malley said...

My added 2-cents:

Understanding shared "Values" is absolutely critical to retaining the largest, age-diverse audience.

Having an 'emotion center' is the key to content that resonates and drives repeat listening.

Become proficient at one-on-one and ‘experiential marketing.’

Database: Potentially one of a station’s strongest assets; smart programmers will insure theirs is current, accurate, and that two-way communications are valuable to both sender and receiver.

John Paul said...

My two cents...

Stay mass appeal, play the hits but don’t be afraid to be a country station. Its easy today to lean the station too “female pop.” With lots of crossover artists/airplay today, it’s more important than ever to make sure one foot is always firmly planted in the country format.

Be as creative AND brief as possible without losing honesty. No hype, include tons of actual listeners. Use “listener speak” not “radio speak” when writing imaging.

Be a country radio station…not a station that plays country music. Everything should be about the listener. It’s all about being real, genuine and connected.

Morning Shows
Honest, real, no “wacky morning Zoo types.” Real communicators, more relatable than funny. Genuine. Play more music than ever before and be more topical than ever before.

Talent and VT development
Live and local as much as possible. Tons of prep and preparation. Know the target and hyper focus everything you do on that target.

Social Media
Use it as much as you can and learn to use it the right way. Make Facebook and Twitter about connecting with the audience, not using it as another e-mail database to blast messages about the station to the masses. Someday soon, Facebook will not be cool. Always be on the lookout for the next big thing.

If a station isn’t using a loyalty database program, they should. Be as one on one as possible when marketing to the listener. Sell the benefits of your station.

Do as much as your company will allow, but be prepared to not have a lot of money to spend on outside research programs. Use online research as much as possible. Set up a “Listener Advisory Board” and meet with listeners monthly. Ask questions. Make them feel they have a voice and a huge say in the programming of the station. Make it about them.