Counting Seconds

The PPM Myth

Every VP of Programming and almost every consultant (hah!) preaches counting seconds when it comes to what you say on the air.

They produce graphs and Arbitron data that “prove” listeners always have their fingers on the radio button, ready to dismiss you the instant you go one word too long.

And, if we’re honest, the listening spans are shorter compared to the fantasy of diary ratings that we sold for generations.

But that’s not really the point, comparing what we thought was to what we think is.

The point is, listeners will listen as long as you don’t bore them, and many will leave as soon as you do. You know this is true because you behave the same way.

The tolerance for irrelevance is low because the options for a bit more relevance, even if it’s only a song we like, are high.

Your job as a programmer is to coach your air talent to consistent, persistent relevance.

To be worthy of your listeners’ attention every time you speak, and with every liner and sweeper you produce.

Are you doing that?

Are you demanding content that is so compelling it can’t be missed?

The easiest response to PPM is to shut your talent down, restrict their ability to generate tune-out. To blame the listeners rather than your less-than-compelling content.

But the winning response is to stimulate your listeners’ curiosity and imagination every single time the music stops.