Thursday, December 03, 2009

Would You Take Programming Advice From This Guy?

Radio One CEO Alfred Liggins, yesterday on Capitol Hill:
“you’re better off having more stop sets with fewer commercials in each pod."

.. so I checked the top of the rankers from yesterday's ARB November PPM monthlies, to see how many programmers agreed with that assertion. I reviewed the top ranked music stations in New York and Los Angeles yesterday in their 9:00 am to 10:00 am hour:

Station - # of commercial breaks:

WLTW (#1) - 2
WHTZ - 4
WAXQ - 2
WKTU - 2
WPLJ - 4
WRKS - 2
WBLS - 4
KRTH (#1) - 3
KIIS - 3
KAMP - 2
KPWR - 3
KLOS (no music) - 3
KBIG - 3
KHHT - 3
KROQ - 4

The average number of commercial pods in same hour by these 17 top-rated music stations in America's two largest markets: 2.8.

Before implementing programming guidance from a CEO, you might want to ask some top programmers who have been managing daily cume and daily time spent exposed usage.

However, proving that he is paying attention and learning along the way, Liggins also cited for lawmakers the lessons syndicated morning host Tom Joyner has learned from PPM, and that guidance will find few detractors among PD's or programming consultants who have experience in any of the meter-measured markets:
"Talk, no matter how big a personality you are, if you’re not absolutely entertaining, is a death knell.”


Anonymous said...


Part of the problem radio has is that we are not thinking out of the box. Just because all of those stations are doing the same old thing doesn't make it the right thing to do.

I agree with Mr, Liggins that more frequent, shorter stop sets are better two or three long stop sets. Listener's attention spans are much shorter, they are far less tolerant of those 6-8 min stop sets. And these long stop sets coupled with the overall lack of quality in commercial production are prime reasons why advertisers are starting to say that radio doesn't work.

Why not try more frequent, shorter stop sets with fewer spots overall. Improve the quality of the creative for those commercials and create some positive results for advertisers. I think we would see improved ratings, and higher rates across the board.

Michael Dalfonzo

Albright and O'Malley said...

Have you seen any stations which stop more often for shorter stopsets beat a station which stops fewer times per hour, in either PPM or diaries?

I have not, Michael.

What does win, of course, is fewer commercial minutes per hour than the direct competition, so for me the REAL thinking out of the box tactic/strategy is to take the risk of limiting commercial units and play fewer commercials than the folks across the street.

Commercial free hours, for example, do well in PPM as long as they don't cause over-commercialization in other hours, where the competition has fewer minutes of commercial content, which can negate the usage advantage from one hour with a usage deficit in another one.

Have you seen evidence to the contrary?

Albright and O'Malley said...

Jack Balzer, Bill Thomas and Tom Daniels like this.

Scott Innes: wow...your not kidding! hope your doing well Jaye!

Mary McKenna: Amen!

Willie Fisher Rutherford: blue suits know everything

Jeff Hillery: KLOS doesn't play music 9-10 a.m.?

Jaye Albright: Mark and Brian go until 10 am and are all talk: ( KLOS starts playing music at 10 am, Jeff.

Michael Dalfonzo: I think that Liggins has a great idea. More frequent, shorter stop sets with better, more effective spots will be good for ratings and for advertisers.

Skeeter Nash: Didn't that strategy work for Bill Drake? I know, that was a long time ago, but they started out by telling listeners they were never more than 2 min. away from "much more MUUUU-sic," and telling advertisers, "your message won't be buried in a 6 or 7 unit stop set." Just throwing a little history into the discussion, that's all.

Jaye Albright: the difference was that Drake was being measured by Pulse and Hooper, not even ARB diaries until very late in the 1960s. Perception drove what people reported to the ratings firms back then. Leadership and heritage aided in positive images, which ended up helping folks remember one station as "better" than another, which did impact surveys at the time. Meters eliminate that edge, since it's all about aggregating more cumulative minutes of listening over the seven days in as many of the 504 "quarter hours" between Midnight Monday and Sunday night as possible. Listeners are equally-distributed in all four quarter hours, about 1/60th of the listening in each minute. The are so many more listening occasions in PPM and of shorter duration than diaries, that tactics designed to add just a few more occasions per day and a few more days per week, which worked like a charm in diaries and phone surveys, have far less impact on metered measurement. Phantom cume is real and PPM measures it. There is almost no exclusive cume. Shared cume is much higher among direct competitors that diaries ever measured. Consider this: Thanks for speaking out! As I keep telling A&O clients, no one as yet as all the answers on PPM yet, it is too new and people are still trying various tactics and defenses to say for sure that anything does or doesn't work for any specific local situation.