Monday, November 18, 2013


I was riveted over the weekend by "The Batkid" in San Francisco.  What a great, positive and uplifting story.  Every time I saw it online or on TV it made me feel great.  It was a nice escape from all the negative stories I see online or in the media every day.

It seems like all forms of media spend way more time covering the negative stories than the good, positive ones.  After seeing how much coverage and exposure this story got, it seems like people are really hungry for more positive and less negative.

If you are on the air, you are the gatekeeper to what thousands of your listeners will hear during your show.  Why not make it positive?  Focus on only good, lighthearted, positive things happening in the world.  Be fun and make the listener feel good when they listen to you. 

I tell my jocks all the time, "be the place people can come to and escape the negative news.  Make them feel good when they are listening to you.  Let everyone else be negative and heavy."

I think the TV news anchor I saw summed it up best when he said "this story makes me realize how much more we should talk about good things and good people."  Right on.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


I'm really nervous for the next 18-24 months for country radio.  Everything is so focused 18-34 (music out of Nashville, many country stations are now making 18-34 their #1 target, not 25-54 or 18-49).  18-34 year olds are fickle.  They love what's cool now, but will leave in an instant when the "next big thing" comes along or they get bored.  

With all the focusing on 18-34's, we are blowing off our 35-54 core.  They are already starting to leave the format.  According to Country Consultant Jaye Albright, “the 35-44 country share is down from 16.0 to 14.7 to the lowest point in the history of the tracking.  Meanwhile, county's 12+ share is the highest ever, 14.1 up from 13.3 last year on the strength of the younger side.  As always, the music biz sells more to 18-34 so they want us to go there in spite of the HUGE 45+ audience and even those Gen Xers.” 

Nielsen Radio Today tracking, maintained by A&O&B
If our 35-54's leave and 18-34's find something "new and shiny" and they leave, country radio's healthy ratings will crater.  It could get real ugly.

We need to be careful not to go too young. Country radio's success has always come from having a wide target.  I always say our format works from "birth until death."  Up until now, it's always been a real mass appeal format.  I fear that is changing.

Remember "Young Country" in the 90's?  It didn't take long for all of those "Young Country" stations to go away.  

As radio programmers, we need make sure that we always have a wide variety of music in each quarter hour.  Don't ignore 35-54's (they are far more loyal than 18-34's).  Be careful of songs that are too abrasive.  Radio's bread and butter is daytime, at work listening.  If we play music that won't work for the at work listener, we'll be in trouble.  AC and Hot AC will benefit.

Saturday, October 12, 2013


I was listening to a local talk station the other day and they ran a bumper before the show started that said "our only rule is that you can only call once a week."  Really?  Why are you limiting your most passionate and loyal listener to only calling once per week?  Who cares how often they call?  That's the call screeners job to weed them out if they aren't compelling.  If they are smart, articulate and compelling, let them call all they want and put them on the air.  Let them be the star of the show.  That's a really dumb rule.

Since I'm on a rant about dumb rules, I hate the "you can only win once in every 30 days rule."  It has never made sense to me, unless it's a big chunk of cash they are winning, but if it's a smaller prize, who cares how often they win?  Unless we bring it to their attention, most listeners will never know if a winner has had multiple winnings.  Research shows that these people are the ones that would be most likely to say yes to a PPM or diary survey if asked, they are heavy users of the station and are talking about your station to their friends.  You're going to tell them once they win, they should go listen to another station for 30 days and try to win their prize before they come back?  That's a dumb rule.  Let the "Prize Pigs" win (can you image if these loyal listeners knew we called them "Prize Pigs?")  Other businesses reward this kind of repeat business, but radio doesn't.  Can you image Safeway calling their most loyal customers "Shopping Pigs" because they may come in 3-4 times per week to shop?  I bet that customer would find another store pretty fast.

Listeners have a lot more going on in their life than the radio.  Why make it hard on them to listen?We need to make it as easy and rules free as possible for them. 

The harder we make it with dumb rules, the less they will listen.