Thursday, March 20, 2014

Stop Punishing Listeners With Daypart Spins

A few years ago A&O&B consulted a top ten market leader whose competition was owned by one of the major consolidated group owners which at the time also owned the biggest concert promotion company in the world.

As a result, our client got no tickets, meet and greets, pre-show mini-concerts, on-sale remotes, artist interview about the concerts coming to town and all other typical radio-concert promotion opportunities.

Yet, this aggressive broadcaster still managed to own the events by buying everything they needed for cash.

The annual budget for doing so was under $30,000, which makes me wonder why some stations do so many things to do damage to their "repetition" image for such a small amount of promotion support, comparatively speaking.


One big reason, as noted here yesterday, a single could conceivably "lose momentum" in the first two months or so is because, frankly, it often never was given a real chance in the first place.

That's what led me to investigate the famed Double-Edged Sword of Early Airplay: the thrill of getting your record added but also the agony of knowing it is going to be heavily restricted to after 7pm or even overnights only for an extended period.

These limitations are often so severe that, using reach-and-frequency models based on the same turnover ratios that radio advertisers rely on, we were able to determine that many new releases don't have the opportunity to become familiar enough to be test-worthy before their lifespan ends.

At CRS 2014, Stone Door Media Lab's Jeff Green identified what he termed the "Sweet 16" rated reporting stations with the lowest turnover, enabling them to establish familiarity on new singles (and advertised products/services) faster than others. Such data give these stations a competitive advantage and also can help their record industry counterparts without punishing late night or overnight listeners.  If you'd like to see his presentation graphics, click here.

What's particularly noteworthy about the perpetuation of the common dayparting practice is that research from M-Score reliably shows very little tune-out to newer Country singles regardless of artist. In short, Country fans like what their favorite stations play them.

And, what is really learned by playing a song overnights only to a tiny audience segment anyway?

Are those really the listeners PDs/MDs should rely on for validating their music decisions? It could be argued that air personalities can make any song familiar simply by talking about it, and many stations' ratings, especially in smaller markets, are so strong they really face virtually no risk in playing new music -- certainly no more than by playing a commercial for a car dealer or mattress store every few hours or long stopsets two-three times per hour.

These days, when consumers are demanding to hear whatever they want whenever they want it via numerous music streaming alternatives, it seems to make less and less sense to daypart newer music for more than a few weeks.

This appears to be especially true for serving Country fans, who are so receptive to it and love their local stations, as documented year after year by A&O&B, as well as by the CMA, Edison and Nielsen.

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