What is on the horizon in 2010 for Country programming?
-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.