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.”


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. 

“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.

Brand Manager? Content Director?

5 02 2011

So apparently I am no longer a Program Director.  The landscape of programming a radio station has changed…drastically.  While scheduling music logs and writing witty little sweepers is still part of our role today, it is just one of the many responsibilities of a PD.  The radio “Program Director” in 2011 is faced with the task of not only the “on-air brand” but the “online brand” and the “on demand” brand.  We have to continue to polish the sound of the on-air product by playing the best of the best songs, writing and producing creative imaging, and critiquing the airstaff.  At the same time, it is our responsibility to expand the brand of the radio station beyond the radio.  We also MUST be doing the social networking thing.  Facebook is to an air personality today what the request line was 20 years ago.  It is your lifeline to your P1 listener.  If you are a PD and your station does not have a Facebook page or if you are a jock without a page then I’m assuming you are still playing records.  Twitter is of course the other hot social site of the moment, but I think people and radio stations are still tapping into it and trying to get a good grip on ways to utilize it best.  So recent discussions have begun where I work to change the title of our Program Directors:  Brand Manager?  Content Manager or Director?  I mean, those titles do better describe the role of the PD today.  We’re expanding the overall brand of the station to all of these various forms of entertainment for the listener, finding as many new ways of delivering compelling content as possible.  I think I’m more in favor of Brand Manager because ultimately branding our product into the brains of our listeners is our daily goal.  To me, managing content sounds like something I could pay a part-timer to do.  What do you think?