Facebook Promotions-Be Careful

3 10 2011

Well, it’s great to be back with a new post after a short hiatus.  One thing that has popped up on Facebook recently that hasn’t gotten nearly the amount of press as the layout and functionality changes is their rules for running contests and promotions.  And for those of us in the radio business, one of the biggest ways we have been using our Facebook page to give away a pair of tickets or other prize is against their policy…”Likes.”  According to the new Facebook promotion guidelines, you cannot ask friends or others to “like” your page in order to play or win a contest.  You also cannot have them “leave a comment” to be eligible to participate.  But you see it going on everyday, and not only on radio station websites.  Use caution, FB could suspend or delete your account.  Here’s a link to Facebook’s “Promotion Guidelines.”

Extend Your Brand

29 06 2011

In the “old days” fifteen or twenty years ago, radio people were active in their community and made appearances or volunteered because well, that’s just what we did right?  We still know today that it’s an important part of being in radio, but we’ve given it a fancy name: Extending your brand.  There’s several different levels of brands as well.  There’s the radio station as a whole, and when we do a live broadcast or host a station event this takes your connection with the listener to that next level.  What about when you personally volunteer to make an appearance at an event to emcee or because it is an organization close to your heart?  This not only elevates the brand of the station but you as an individual as well.  Then finally, there’s the additional “stuff” you do beyond your direct involvement with the radio station.  Maybe you have a mobile dj business or do voiceover work.  Maybe you are a musician and play on the weekend.  Ultimately, this helps to extend your brand and I believe your cume base.  Here’s some ways you can extend your brand via social networking too.

The Customer Experience

28 06 2011

I was reading Fred Jacobs’ blog and he was talking about CX – Customer Experience.   As a Program Director/Brand Manager, I began to think about the role I play in providing the best CX for the listeners of my radio station.  It’s imperative that the entire programming staff understand the mission of the radio station and who their audience is so that we can provide the best customer experience possible when they tune in.  Here’s some questions to ponder:

-What is the mission of your radio station?

-Are you meeting the expectations of your listeners every time they tune in?

-Is your station fun, local and relatable?

-Do your contests make sense and are they easy to play along?

-Are you playing the hits versus the misses?

-Is the airstaff talking about things important to your P1’s?

If you haven’t done a “CX Checkup” lately, maybe now is a good time.

Back To Basics

15 06 2011

Programming 101

So many Program Directors try to create GREAT radio stations before they’ve mastered the art of a GOOD radio station.  It sounds elementary, but as the old saying goes, “You have to walk before you can run.”  One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to “sprint” to keep up with the competition…that will just cause your station to stumble.  So what are the elements that comprise a good solid radio station?


Get the music right.  Unless you are a news/talk format, the number one reason listeners tune into your radio station is the music.  The goal should always be to be playing one of their favorite songs every single time they tune in.  If you have the budget to conduct research, do it.   If not, at least use some of the other tools that are available like Mediabase, charts and more importantly your gut.  Don’t be afraid to use your knowledge of the market and take a chance on a song that you believe will connect with your listeners.  Finally, play the hits!  More on this in my “Play The Hits” article.


There are varying levels of imaging your radio station and some of those just depend on your budget.  I would encourage you though, if you have to cut corners on your budget, DO NOT do it on your imaging.  The “personality” of your radio station is just too important.  Find a voice talent that fits the sound that you are looking for and do everything you can to secure an unlimited deal with him or her so that you don’t have to decide what you want to produce this month.  I would encourage you to produce the imaging yourself because only you can hear the station in your head.  If you don’t have time or that just isn’t your cup of tea, see if you have someone in-house that can do it.  You’d be surprised how many of your employees do good work.  The other option is to outsource it to a production company.  There are many very good ones out there, I personally use Studio 197.  The other piece of the imaging puzzle is a jingle package.  Jingles are the icing on the cake.  Can you get by without them? Sure.  As a matter of fact, some formats don’t call for them.  Again, if you decide to buy a jingle package, don’t skimp.  No jingles at all are better than a low cost jingle package that sounds bad.

Morning Show

Your morning show sets the table for the rest of the day on the station.  A fun, relatable, music driven morning show plays a major role in building a solid station.  Meet with them and critique them to make sure they are doing the service elements: time, weather, temperature, benchmarks.  So often, air personalities get caught up in worrying about being a comedian or coming up with witty parody songs and forget about the basics.  When the ratings come out, they wonder why they’re losing in morning drive.  One of the number one reasons listeners tune in, especially in morning drive, is WEATHER.  How do they need to dress their child for school? If you aren’t giving them this info, they will find a station that is.


Building a winning radio station goes beyond a great morning show and a cool sweeper you produced.  The radio stations that understand the idea of getting out in the community are the ones that begin a friendship with their listeners.  Unfortunately, many jocks think their job ends when their airshift is over.  That couldn’t be farther from the truth.  You have to find ways to put your finger on the pulse of your community.  Partner with organizations for events, find causes that mean something to you personally and volunteer, speak at the Kiwanis meeting, etc. 

Know Your Listener

21 04 2011

Regardless of format, always run everything you plan to do on air through the “who cares?” filter.  That filter should be specific to your demographic.  That means you have to know who it is you are talking to when you crack the mic.  Your P1 listener might be a 35 year old female with two kids and an SUV or a 40 year old male that has a Harley and a dog.  Whatever the scenario, the criteria of the content you generate has to be relevant to your target listener.  Now, let’s take it a step further.  Let’s go beyond just a mental picture of that listener.  Think about what that person’s life might be like.  What kinds of things are they dealing with on a daily basis that might drive them to your radio station for a release.  Let’s say you work for a country station and your target listener is that 35 year old female we mentioned earlier.  Beyond what she might look like or drive, what might she encounter daily.  It could be that she is so busy constantly running kids here and there that she doesn’t have the time she would like to keep the house clean and cook a nutritious meal a few times a week.  Thinking about things like this could be the foundation for a promotion that offers her a chance to win house cleaning for a year and dinner out once week.  Doing these kinds of exercises is essential in becoming a top level air talent, and if you are a Program Director why not hold regular sessions with your jocks to create a listener filter.  You will find that the personal connection you make with listeners will generate a loyal audience and brand your station and air talent as more than just a “dj.”

“Use Your Radio Voice”

10 04 2011

It never fails, when a family member or friend or even just a stranger that I’ve been introduced to meets me and finds out who I am or that I’m in radio the first thing they say is…”Say something in your radio voice.”  This always kind of bothers me somewhat and I try to explain to them that the voice I’m talking to them in at that moment IS my radio voice.  But they always still need to here me say my slogan and call letters or the name of my morning show to verify that indeed I am Scott Michaels, the guy on the radio.  I’ve now been in my current market about 15 years and so people recognize me quite often by my voice both in person and over the phone.  That to me is one of the greatest compliments you can receive as a radio person.  The way you sound and talk on the radio should be the same way you sound and talk to your friends and family.  The days of putting one hand up to your right ear and “turning on your radio voice” are long gone.  As my good friend John Paul always says…”I want to sound like the neighbor that will bring you a cold beer on a hot day while you’re out mowing the lawn.”  When you’re on the air, be yourself and use your everyday voice.  That IS your radio voice.

Listeners Still Count On Us

11 03 2011

A listener called the morning show this morning and asked me if I knew how close the earthquake and tsunami in Japan were to Yokozuna because she had a family member there.  I attempted to do a little searching online and tried to help her as best I could with the brief amount of time I had before the break.  Before she hung up, she commented that “you guys were the only ones I could think of that would know.”  Wow.  As a Program Director and air personality, it really made me stop and think about how important radio truly is to our listeners.  Such a short, quick statement like that reassures me that local terrestrial radio is not dead or dying.  But…I believe we owe to our listeners to provide entertaining, compelling local content and when a call like this comes in don’t blow them off or let ego take over but give them that brief moment to show them that there is a reason why they thought to call the radio station FIRST.