What If It’s All Wrong?

What now?

I hope you subscribe to Richard Harker’s blog, Radio Insights. I’ve known Richard longer than either of us would like to admit. He is a very smart guy and great teammate.

Even if you don’t, maybe you saw the interview he gave to All Access. You’ll find it HERE.

Years ago, as PPM was rolling out across America, I raised my voice to hope programmers would spend more time creating compelling, emotional content in all dayparts than they would in trying to “game” the new ratings system.

Naturally that idea landed with a giant thud, as most consultants and VP’s of Programming began moving stop sets and redesigning clocks to maximize ratings in PPM measured markets.

Well, if Richard is right, PPM is so fundamentally flawed that everything we think we know about it is wrong.

Most radio stations saw massive drops in TSL, and (naturally) most consultants and VP’s of Programming proclaimed jock talk as the reason. Minute-by-minute evaluation of the data supposedly “proved” that listeners did not want to hear talent speak, at all.

Jocks were fired. Careers ended. Salaries slashed. Lives inalterably ruined.

Radio stations became even less human than they were before PPM.

All the stuff between the songs that a talented Air Staff did to bond with their listeners was suddenly seen as detrimental to the station’s success.

And it may all be wrong. Every conclusion made about jocks, and spoken content may be wrong!

Don’t spend too much time thinking about this or you’ll want to stab a fork into the side of your head and wail like a howler monkey.

May I suggest, again, that we go back to the listener, to the stuff we can do between songs to personalize the experience of listening to Station A rather than Station B.

May I suggest, again, you spend time preparing the content for your show, no matter when it’s scheduled, content designed to make listeners feel, designed to surprise and delight them, designed to be compelling and entertaining and informative.

May I suggest, again, that you spend most of your time creating a remarkable radio station, in every daypart, every day — even on weekends.

Yes, please call Richard and find out everything you can about Voltair. If you’re not already using it, based on Richard’s research, you probably should be.

But spend more time thinking about ways to make your station great and less time obsessing about whether your talent talks 8 seconds or 10.

Now, if you’ll excuse me…where’s that fork?