Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Best Wishes, Brian

Is it true that "you only get one chance to make a good first impression?"

We're about to find out.

With the news that Cumulus is giving very smart programmer Brian Thomas the keys to New York's NASH-FM after attempting to win The Big Apple's country fans' loyalty with a Nashville-centric approach, it looks like someone finally figured out that localism still wins.

Now, let's hope that debt-laden Cumulus will give him the resources that it will take to get New Yorkers to come back and try the station again once it is repositioned with America's largest city's style, content, personality and attitude.

A personal story that illuminates my perspective on the challenge the new team Thomas will pull together faces: 

In the early 1960's I had the honor of meeting Gene Autry-owned KMPC-AM 710's Dick Whittinghill and was brash and enthusiastic enough in spite of my idol's major market success I had the courage to ask him why he talked so much about the little things in his daily life - like playing golf with Mayor Sam Yorty (which, always the "coach," I told Whittinghill, seemed elitist).

Whittinghill was kind enough to give me some great advice that I never forgot over the five decades since that time:  "LA is a huge city, but the people who live here think of themselves as residents of their unique neighborhoods not a metropolis.  I relate to them as if we all lived in a village and as if they might have played golf with the Mayor yesterday."

You have to think that the very smart Cumulus executive team understands that they now need to give Thomas all of the time and tools he'll require to identify the more than one-to-two million country fans in greater New York a strong signal to cover their home/work zip codes and move in next door to them.

Monday, April 28, 2014

If You're Not At Least A Bit Frightened, You're Not Paying Attention

First, we automated our radio stations and replaced live people with computers.

Next, we automated the buying and pricing process.

Now, listeners are also automating their listening processes.

Is any of this creating value for listeners or merchants?

Why Social Content Is Essential To Every Radio Station

Every conversation (note that Facebook asks "what's on your mind" and then calls them "stories from your friends") is for the benefit of the audience, communicated one to one.
  • Each listener must feel that he/she is part of the conversation.
  • Let the listener tell the story.  Don’t interrupt.  React and respond.
  • Record as many listener voices in advance and pre-edit them.  Radio is an audio medium.  Make the most of sound. 
Sure, encourage text messages, emails and social content, but then call back the best ones and get the person’s voice for use on the air.  Edit them tightly.  Get to the point.  There is no need to punish your audience with small talk like “hello, how are you, thanks for calling.”
  • Think about plot lines.  Edit in advance for a clear beginning, middle and end to each story.
  • Cast the drama with your team’s characters.  Who is best, given their values, to be the generator for this interaction?  The reactor?
  • Feel free to edit laughs and phrases from callers you recorded previously.  It’s show biz.  Reality TV has taught us that compressing a big story line into less time increases impact and power.
Don’t waste a second.

Some programmers will say that's due to PPM.

Actually, it's simply the pace of life today.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Is It Time To Stop Doing Time Checks, Traffic And Weather?

Once essential “basics” of every morning show that were drummed into the head of each personality so that just giving the time wasn’t enough.  You had to do double time sells.  Analog and digital.  Every time.  7:16, 16 past seven.

Reporting traffic and weather every ten minutes wasn’t enough.  We went to “the seven minute traffic and weather guarantee.”  Then, the other guys did too.

That was then.  Now?

According to the Infinite Dial 2014, 61% of Americans 12+ now own a smartphone—up from 53% in 2013 and 44% in 2012.

If you’re still routinely complying with rules let over from the last century, it’s time to reassess how you spend your time talking. 
  • Give the time.
  • Mention the weather.
  • Talk about traffic problems in real time.
.. but, today, you better add value as well.  Those things have become generics.

Start with the assumption that the majority of listeners already know what you’re about to say and enrich it with a new perspective.

Longtime Texas air talent and personality coach Tommy Kramer calls it adding more camera angles to every scene.

Thursday, April 24, 2014


I learned this approach from Cumulus/Nashville OM Charlie Cook:

Every personality should take a legal pad into the studio.

As you go, following each content break, write a shorthand diary that is informative enough so that you can go back over it and understand what each element of the show was.

After you are off air, review the “content map” you created in advance and compare it with what you actually did.

The idea is to learn and talk about what you will do differently as you put together tomorrow’s show.

Classify each individual element under one of three categories
  • Worked.  Use again.
  • Did not work.  Modify and try again.
  • Did not work.  Do not use again.
As time goes by, you’re going to have a huge log of evidence - as judged by YOU - what is acceptable and unacceptable for future morning shows.

The better you become, the better you’ll do!

Stop Doing These Things

Listeners do love trivia and so they always say they love it when asked in focus groups.  Should you do trivia?

What about…
  • Today in history?
  • Joke Of The Day?
  • The daily wakeup call
  • Birthdays?
  • Anniversaries?
  • Lost pet announcements?
  • 50’s-60’s-70’s TV theme beat beds
  • The morning classic /oldie
Unless you can do it in a unique way that brands a unique, memorable benchmark, don’t do anything that sounds like everyone else would do it.

As Powerful Radio advocate Valerie Geller admonishes us all:  “never be boring.”

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Elements Of Style

In 1920, E. B. White and William Strunk, Jr. wrote a prescriptive American English writing style guide that remains in print to this day.  I constantly recommend it as a way to hear yourself objectively and recognize that the habitual things we write and say are often meaningless hackneyed crutches and cliches.

Two bits of their advice may be all that you need:
  • Use the active voice.
  • Omit needless words
It’s so brief and meaty that you could go to a library and read it all before leaving the building.  Or, right now by clicking on this pdf.

How much do you need it?  Give yourself a score from one to ten on this morning’s show:
  • How connected to your community, using social networks and the telephones was it?
  • Were characters “real” with believable values or just cartoon voices?
  • How many times did you make listeners laugh?
  • How well did the show build anticipation, entertainingly sewing in “reason to keep listening teases” in the thread?
  • Relatablity?  Was there a lot in the chatter that was so topical and local, so unique to your market, that listeners saw a reflection of themselves in your content?
Perfect score:  50.  Most of us, if we're honest, get less than 25.

You are about average, the same as most people you compete with.

Face it:  you already know that you need some coaching on methods to add unique “style” to what you do.

Unless you want to remain "average."

Monday, April 21, 2014


“Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder[1] in which a person is excessively preoccupied with personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity. This condition affects one percent of the population.” - DSM-V

I think the percentage is higher among those of us who have been drawn to speak via broadcast transmitters.

  • Feel what they say is more important than the music and show it to listeners by talking over songs or telling the audience when they don’t like a particular tune.
  • Drop scheduled songs.
  • Bits go long. 
  • Go to the GM if they disagree with the PD’s suggestions for programming
  • Refuses to attend station events unless they get paid or are the center of attention
Changing these patterns requires a seldom-brief process of helping them become more empathetic in everyday relationships.

Interrupt their sense of entitlement and self-centeredness by guiding them to identify their unique talents.

Encourage them to help others for reasons other than their own personal gain.

If you can actually achieve this, you will have helped this individual in their life and relationships with everyone, not just their radio show.

That's the rare, amazing payoff you get for training yourself to be an effective leader.

It's worth the personal risk, time and effort.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Vary Your Pitches

As you coach and encourage talent in critique sessions it’s important to avoid a routine.

Different ways to do it:

1.  Set by set.  If the team is missing some of the basics, this can be like watching the game films.  It’s painful to watch that play where you missed your assignment and cost a win, but it has tremendous impact and can be sure that everyone who talks on the air is aware of what you expect to hear from them.  What percentage of the breaks passes the “who cares” test?

2.  Overview.  This doesn’t involve listening to an air check.  Show the team your own version of this monitor clock (with thanks to a 1980’s McVay Media programming manual form) of an hour of their show.

Goal:  to give more of an overall impression of the station's balance of elements in every quarter hour to a casual listener.  How likely is that person to become more loyal based on the “big picture?”

3.  Ask the talent to tell you how they feel about today’s show.  If it’s a team, ask each person to rate the show on a scale of 1-10 and then talk about the differences from each character’s perspective.  Often, talent is much more self-critical than you could ever be.  Guide and encourage them in self-help.

If every critique session follows the same pattern, you’ll find that everyone comes to them with two very human reactions:  defensiveness and denial.

Once you've mixed up these methods, you may want each daily talent meeting by giving them the choice of which of the three they feel will be most effective today.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

If You Want Your Talent To Prep

Prep For Every Meeting With Them.

Go to every critique with one or two strengths you appreciate in the talent, with ideas for ways they can stress therm even more,

If you feel they have weaknesses to work on, think carefully about how to achieve buy-in before you drop them directly.

Even if you start with two or three strengths and effusive praise, most likely the one thing they’re going to remember from the session is this negative.

Think of talking about any shortcomings as pieces of dynamite and be prepared to do first aid if someone gets injured when you bring them up.

Some people require a light touch.  Others will ONLY change when very directly told what they must work on if they want to keep their job.

Think this through before the meeting, realizing that the only want to get anyone to change is for the individual to choose it.

Be prepared to use disciplinary action as a last resort if necessary, but take to your boss about this in advance and make sure you have support from above so that the talent knows it isn’t personal just between you.

It's about making them better.

You will be more effective when they honestly believe that.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

You Can’t Manage Time

.. but you can work to prevent it from managing YOU.
  • Do a weekly priority plan each Sunday evening.  Make appointments with yourself during the coming well to be sure you complete these tasks.  If it will take 45 minutes, slot in an hour for it.
  • Create two file folders, one with your name on it and the other your boss’ name.  Give the one with your name on it to your boss and show him the one with his name on it.
  • Save all discussion items for each other in the folders and plan two meetings a week where you go through both folders together as quickly as possible.  This way, your meetings are never dominated by one topic and each of you can prioritize the things they need the other’s help on just before each meeting.
  • Never touch a piece of paper twice.  Deal with it, delegate it, file it or toss it.
Yes, of course, you have long known these tricks.

The real trick is doing it.

"Whoever wants to be a judge of human nature should study people's excuses."
-- Christian Friedrich Hebbel, German poet

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Give Your Team A Bonus

I know.  No budget.

There are things any leader can do using barter and very little budget that improve morale and improve the attitude of everyone.

1.  Pre-book dinner with all personalities with limo transport to and from the restaurant
2.  A public meeting with the entire staff or even at an event where the audience is present to award trophies to air staff and other employees for their achievements.
3.  Snail mail a letter to their home thanking them for all they do when someone does something truly outstanding. That way, their whole family will know you appreciate their dedication.
4.  Send flowers to spouses and then let the air staff know you did so and made the flowers “from them.”
5.  In mid-summer, take everyone to an indoor location for a (machine-made) snowball fight or in the middle of winter to an indoor pool for a pool party.
6.  “Staff” jackets for the air staff with their name on them.
7.  Old fashioned telegrams to individual air staff saluting them for the “above and beyond” things they do.
8.  Conduct a “war college” at the local military base or reserve post.  Go to the local Army-Navy store and equip everyone with fatigues, show pieces from “Patton,” and psyche up your warriors.
9.  Do a meeting in the locker room of a competitive college or pro team and have the coach talk about motivation and winning.

And, finally, 10.  Stage an amazing annual Christmas Party.

And,  an admission:  I learned a lot of these tactics over many years of working with Mike McVay, who with his business-and-life partner Doris took the definition of “Holiday Party” to a new level each year with an amazing staff dinner at the nicest hotel downtown and concluded with a party game of “wheel of McVay,” which was a fun way of giving everyone who works together all year with an impressive gift and a feeling they all work for a generous, winning organization.

Maybe that's why, after all these years, A&O&B still retains an association with the McVays.  They know how to motivate and retain people.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Can You Spot The One Who "Get's It"?

Some people have a way of making themselves the center of events and others seem more comfortable playing the background.

Take a fast look at this photo from Country Aircheck weekly. Where do your eyes go?  Which personalities do you want to identify?

Small wonder the ACM judges liked Bobby Bones' entry in spite of how new the team is to country radio.  Clearly what they learned doing CHR in Austin is paying off in their new format home.

Some people stand in front of the remote booth engaging listeners directly, while others prefer to hide behind the station banner.

Most of us try to hide from the camera when a lens is pointed our way.

That's not the business we're in.

These are learned skills and if your team doesn't seem to understand that appearances, stunts and awards are an opportunity to be maximized, it's time ot teach them.

We are in a very competitive business.

Do your personalities act like they don't realize this?

If you need help with teaching the facts of show biz, we can help.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Your Best Benchmarks Have Belly Buttons

They have characters, personal stories, loves, hates, points of view.  And, if you have any doubt of that, read this list of names and just try to convince me that you care less about THEM than you do "Battle Of The Sexes" or "War Of The Roses."
Spend more time helping your people become voices that listeners personally relate to and care about than you do stealing someone else's benchmarks and content.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Benchmark Brainstorm

A few years ago Mike O’Malley and I conducted a day-long air personality development seminar in Atlantic City.  We used it to test eight hours’ worth of presentations which we have since used with great impact at A&O&B client radio stations.

One of the most fun exercises we did that day was called “Benchmark Brainstorm.”  The two of us took turns suggesting ideas for bits, stunts, contests, promotions and content that would be memorable to listeners, bringing them back day after day to hear more.

Alternating with our ideas we called on the audience to contribute their best and most successful creative.  A scribe wrote them all down and everyone left that day with four or five single-spaced pages of things to do on the air for fun and buzz.

Later as we reviewed all of the off-the-wall suggestions both Mike and I were at the same time proud of our group’s creativity and fearful that one of the stations in attendance would put them all on the air immediately.

Rating success is not driven by the number of clever nicknames for various forms of content a station does every hour.  It’s the very small number of them that listeners care about, like and use as road signs for their reason to turn the radio on.

The difference between “clutter” and “benchmark” is defined by the listener.

Almost universally the average radio station has far fewer “benchmarks” than they think.

The final step in any “benchmark brainstorm” is finding out which ones listeners love and dropping all of the others which are only wasting time.

Find out the small number of things you’re most famous for and do them a lot more.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

You Go First

Sean Ross (Why The Audience Now Wants Shorter Breaks) initiated not just a great conversation last week but the savvy and experienced folks adding comments since that time simply can't be ignored!

However, I'm not yet convinced.

Back when John Hayes ran Corus and Canada was just starting with PPM, with the help of the brilliant Bob Michaels (I STILL miss him so much - a smart researcher and a wonderful communicator!), all Corus stations were mandated to do six two minute breaks and promote that they go back to the music faster than anyone else.

Finally, after more than a year of disappointing ratings all of the Corus music stations went to two six minute breaks per hour and the ratings improved almost immediately across the board.

In Canada, BBM doesn't use "five minutes equals a quarter hour" as Nielsen Audio does, so it's absolutely a "most minutes" wins game and all of the Canadian country stations we work with are doing exceedingly well right now sticking with the "hour glass" or "bow tie" approach, so I'm welcoming anyone else who wants to take the Edison Researcher's advice and "go first."

My sense is that this is a case of perception vs actual habits.

TV commercials are all run at the same times so that viewers then are forced to choose their favorite shows based on the content not the commercial load and I believe that the same is true with radio when the measurement is PPM.

The major consolidated US group owners have shown me by their actions in PPM that it's possible for one station to play at least one minute more commercial time than a direct competitor and still win by carefully placing their clusters to maximize the time measured by the PPM, which like your cell phone "knows what time it is," so a few seconds can be the same as a minute depending where a tune-in or tune-out happens.  Thanks to Nielsen Audio's editing rules, that minute in the right place can be credited as a full quarter hour (or also cost you one if it's improperly placed).

Perception still drives expectations, which does make listeners go to one station "first" over another, but when at that station "time matters" much more than perceptions, I maintain.  Great content drives usage in the moment much more than the image that if I am patient I'll hear more of what I want in the long term.

Each "stop" causes a huge loss in the "switcher" audience and the more times per hour that happens the stronger that image of "it's worth waiting for something terrific" must be, my current experience still indicates.

How about you?  Ready to go first?

Monday, April 07, 2014

Becoming More Memorable

Increasing top-of-mindness:

1.  Find out which of your personalities your listeners know on an unaided basis.
2.  Test your programming features and stress the "benchmarks" among them.  Which ones can listeners name as a reason they listen to you?
3.  Find out of the core artists you play most bring your brand to mind for target listeners more than any other radio station.
4.  Proudly stand for values and attitudes your audience relates to.

Be certain that these 'benefits' can be described (as Lovemarks) on an unaided basis by as many members of your potential coalition as possible when compared to other radio stations they also use.

Friday, April 04, 2014

If You Can't Measure It, You Can't Change It

If your goal is to lower your levels of phantom cume and you're not a PPM market, how do you find out how much lost listening you have now?

1.  Conduct a phone survey that includes an open-ended question asking "what's your favorite radio station?"

2.  Then, later in the same survey, ask all of the target listeners to choose their favorite radio station from an aided-recall list of all the stations you compete with.

3.  The difference between the percentage of the sample to name your radio station on an unaided basis and the ones who choose you from the aided list is a good indication of your phantom cume.

Once you have that number you can test various ways to improve your "top of mind memorability" and redo the same survey several times annually to see what works.

Improve your unaided recall and you will increase your ratings.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Low Hanging Fruit

Phantom cume is real.  PPM proves it.

As noted here last week, the average radio station's cume almost doubles under PPM measurement.

If your radio station is measured by diaries, it seems that roughly half your audience simply forgets (or doesn't care enough about what they hear) to write down listening they actually did to you.

Ponder this:

If you could help them remember all of the usage they actually do, you could double your cume audience without spending a dime in marketing!

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Country Shares Half As Many Of Its Listeners With YouTube As CHR, Urban and Rock Do

“While radio has spent much of the last year focusing on Pandora and Sirius XM, YouTube remains a major destination for many formats’ P1 listeners,” says EdisonResearch VP of music and programming Sean Ross. “In fact, nearly as many Top 40 P1s use YouTube for music in a week as the 60% that use Pandora in a given month.”

In other findings, Top 40, Urban, and Rock radio P1s are the most likely to listen to any online radio, as well as the most likely to be aware of and use Pandora. Country is last among major music formats in both measurements.

Over a third of Americans age 12-and-up used YouTube to watch music videos or listen to music in the last week. For listeners to most current-based formats, those numbers are significantly higher. 57% of Top 40 P1s have used YouTube for music in the last week, followed by 53% of Urban P1s and 48% of Rock P1s.

That is one major finding of the just-released “Infinite Dial 2014: Radio Format P1s” study, which breaks out Edison Research’s influential “The Infinite Dial” survey results by P1 listeners to ten major format groups. Country was the next major music format for YouTube usage at 27%, followed by Classic Rock/Classic Hits (24%) and AC (19%).

 The “Infinite Dial 2014: Radio Format P1s” report also contains useful format-by-format breakouts on numerous topics, including social networking, device usage, new platforms such as iTunes Radio, in-car audio consumption, satellite radio, and stopset length.

Released in early March, and sponsored by Triton Digital, “The Infinite Dial” surveyed more than 2,000 respondents aged 12 and older. Now in its twenty-second edition, “The Infinite Dial” has become digital audio’s annual report card. “The Infinite Dial” can be found at www.EdisonResearch.com.

Do Old Basics Still Work?

Legendary programmer/radio research pioneer Todd Wallace recently wrote this article for the Australian trade-publication RadioToday (Aussie's still are dealing with only diary measurement). Given last week's thread I opened, I am taking the liberty of posting it here in hopes it generates even more reaction):

One of the questions I get asked most often these days deals with whether the old “tried and true” radio basics, as they apply to Breakfast Shows, are still valid.

Here in North America, the introduction of PPM ratings technology (Portable People Meter measurement by Nielsen and BBM) has caused many programmers to question or re-think their stance on these basic programming truths.

What should be considered first and foremost are two facts: 

 1)  A strong breakfast show or personality is one of the most-mentioned reasons listeners still cite, even today, for why they like listening to, or feel compelled to listen to, a radio station first thing in the morning, My all-time favorite radio adage, “win breakfast, win the war” still stands. When Mulray joined Triple M numbers spiked, when Wayne “The Poo” Roberts joined 4BC the station immediately began making boatloads of cash, and recently then Kyle and Jackie O switched stations, the new world order of Sydney radio ratings instantly changed. 

2)  Nearly all truly great radio stations have defining breakfast shows.

A strong (as they say down under) "brekky" show..
  • Can serve as a cume magnet, drawing listeners from other stations all over the dial (and even from other media)  
  • Can provide an effective promotional vehicle which helps recycle listeners into other dayparts. 
  • Can be the “center stage” for addressing community needs with outstanding, imaginative public service projects. 
  • Can serve as an effective platform for sales promotions (in a way that couldn’t be supported in other music-driven dayparts) 
  • Can be utilized to “camouflage” increased commercial inventory before 9am so it doesn’t have to run in other dayparts where it may be more noticeable.  
Some programmers seem to think PPM means everything has changed. But the more you examine what really drives breakfast listening, the more you see the validity of maintaining a strong basics discipline.

My friend and colleague Country Consultant Jaye Albright put it this way: “Listeners still perceive and make use of radio in the same ways they always have. It’s the measurement techniques and the sample that changed, requiring new usage tactics and perceptual- driven strategies”.

With that in mind, let us proceed to look at the bigger brekky basics and update some thinking to today.

Station Identification.
You can be the funniest and/or most outrageous jock in the world, but it you don’t get proper credit in a Nielsen ratings diary, your numbers will never match your full potential. Even when being measured by PPM, regular reminders of who you are (call letters or brand name identifier) and what your address is (frequency) and what you’re famous for (“the new Country leader”) helps to remind a panelist of where and why they should return again every morning. That hasn’t changed.

Breakfast listeners still largely listen the way they always have during their multi-tasked morning routine full of activities. Regular time-checks every 3 or 4 minutes help a listener maintain his/her body-clock without having to make a conscious effort to look at a clock or watch. (“I know when The Dirty Joke Of The Day comes on, I need to be out the door”) A time-check can also a useful punctuator or seque-tool in the middle of live content. Double-time, digital followed by analog time (“6:43, that’s 17 before 7”) reinforces the fact you are providing the time-check. (Many listeners may not notice you’ve given the time if you only give single-time.) That hasn’t changed.

Weather. Listeners still want to know what elements they’ll be facing on their way to work/school/etc. You still can’t give weather often enough in the morning (as long as it’s concise). Current temp, sky- weather, and a capsule forecast of the next extreme high several times an hour.
That hasn’t changed.

Even on a so-called “serious” station, something “magic” happens when you don’t take yourself so seriously. Most listeners still like hearing something that amuses them. Remember to keep humor positive (not degrading or poking fun at someone else’s expense). Funny is still funny. Most people like to laugh when they wake up. That hasn’t changed.

Many listeners are feature-junkies, especially bedrock breakfast benchmarks. An effective feature can take what might ordinarily be just a throw-away line, joke, or concept, and give it new life in a way that cannot be ignored. Programmed at the same time every morning as a benchmark bit can generate a tune-in cuming-pattern just for a feature, which will have much longer time-spent-listening (diary) or time-spent-exposed (metered) benefits. Too often, PD’s or jocks tend to stop doing a feature long before its real “use by” date and sometimes end up throwing the baby out with the bathwater. As ancient as they may be to PD’s and jocks trying to stay on the cutting edge, “old” features like “the Mystery Oldie” or “the Joke Of The Day” or “Battle Of The Sexes” trivia can still be very entertaining to the average listener. That hasn’t changed.

Essential Information.
When a listener wakes up, they want to know if the world is still there. And they expect an efficient summary of news they need to know. Enough of a story-count (of real news, not fluff) to bring them “up to date” is sufficient. (I suggest 6 quickies consisting of a clever grabber- headline and an explanatory follow-up sentence,) Plus traffic, weather, and sports-shorts. That hasn’t changed.

What is today’s big local event? The thing that everyone will be talking about at work. It may not necessarily be “local” but it’s what locals are or will be buzzing about today. And keep it going all morning. Mentioning it once at 6:18 is not enough. You’ll have a new audience again by 6:55, and at 7:30, and at 8:15. That hasn’t changed

The amount of music that should be programmed is largely dependant on how much truly great content is regularly prepared every morning. Some personalities or ensemble teams have so much excellent subject matter that listeners actually prefer to hear them rather than a song. But most shows benefit from scheduling music at least once or twice each quarter-hour as part of the breakfast entertainment mix. I caution clients against programming music-sweeps in a breakfast show. In my experience, most listeners don’t wake up clamoring sweeps, they’d rather hear a great bit or feature after a song plays, and a great song after great spoken or produce content has played. That hasn’t changed.

So what HAS changed?

One way that the application of PPM measurement has changed breakfast shows in the States is that it has provided tangible proof to personalities and teams willing to dive deep into the numbers that brevity is indeed the soul of wit. Even that is an old concept that is still valid, even more valid, today!

Shows that have learned to get to the point fast and streamline their schticke have seen their numbers increase – often significantly – often very quickly. There was a time that some of those personalities just “started talking until they could finally think of something to say”. Now they’ve learned how to focus their content and improve their methods of show prep, often by hiring effective talent coaches.

The good news is that jocks who have educated themselves about what listeners will tolerate, minute- by-minute, find that when what used to be a 4-or-5-minute loosey-goosey rambling is transformed into a tight 2-minute efficient bit with a great payoff, there is a definite and immediate ratings benefit.

Bottom-line: You can never go wrong by making words work. And by getting morning personalities in the habit of scrutinizing every single bit and feature of their show.

    -- Todd Wallace (602-866-TODD), Phoenix, AZ