With Pandora nipping at our heels, at least in terms of their aspirations if not reality as yet, many listeners continue to feel like radio is their personal jukebox and the air personality's role is to play the songs they want when they want them.
That's why I strongly discourage use of the word "request" or "dedication" on the air. Request calls come from a VERY small portion of your audience and will undermine your music research and rotation systems. As a result, we prefer to call them "listener suggestion lines" or something similar.
However, since customer focus IS the key to success, what do you say when one of those "request consumers" calls with a complaint that "you never play my requests"?
Try this approach:
We receive many requests, sometimes more than we can actually play and still maintain what we perceive to be a popular music format. Due to the number of requests we get, if yours isn't aired right away, there are five possible reasons:
1. We may have just played that particular song or another song by the same artist.
2. We have a list of requests ahead of yours and we will eventually work our way up to yours.
3. We have literally hundreds of songs in our library and it may take some time to find the one you asked for.
4. The song you requested doesn't quite fit the mood of the program at the particular time, but it will be played later.
5. We simply don't have the song.
I see I have another song by the artist you asked for coming right up. How about if I play that one for you?
Most request line callers' motivation in phoning, texting, emailing and Facebooking has less to do with your actually playing their song on the air, than it does with their need to "feel special" to you.
Make them feel as good as possible -- without taking important time away from your show prep or without breaking the music for mat!
Then, you'll be serving the 95% of your cume who will NEVER call, but promptly will hit the preset or scan button of their radio if your music mix doesn't measure up to their expectations.
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2 months ago