A Loyal Reader writes:
“I program a music radio station that does some talk programming on Saturday mornings. Most of this is product/service based rather than purely topical.
“For example, we have a real estate program where a local realtor comes in to do a call-in. I’m noticing we’re just not getting much of a response from the audience and wondered what suggestions you might have for getting more phone response from our listeners.”
Here Are the Possibilities.
* You are not adhering to your brand.
A brand is a promise. When a music station suddenly begins airing talk shows that have no relationship to the music or to the listeners’ lifestyles, the brand is likely be be weakened because the promise is broken.
* Your audience isn’t interested in real estate.
* The program hasn’t had enough time to find and grow its audience.
* The program host is boring or otherwise unpleasant to listen to.
* The program is badly structured.
* The host does not know how to stimulate listeners to call.
* The program is about “real estate” when it should be about something else: Home ownership….Investing (residential)…. Investing (commercial)….How to increase the resale value of your home, etc.
The type of program you’re referring to isn’t “Programming.” It’s “Sales.”
Your station has sold that air time to a third party because it wasn’t able to sell enough advertising to pay the rent for weekend music programming.
If it truly is a sales decision and not a programming decision, my advice to you as a PD is — I hate to say it — forget about it. It’s there to provide direct revenue, not to attract listeners.
If you choose to think of it as Programming, ask yourself: Have you taken the usual steps required to build a successful show?
* Put an interesting personality behind the microphone?
* Discussed with the host the goals, attitude and feeling of the program?
* Created a show structure that attracts and maintains listeners?
* Given people a strong reason to listen?
* Promoted the program — on your own airwaves and elsewhere? (Airing the cookie-cutter promos that probably were sold to the client as part of the package is not the same as actively and effectively promoting the show.)
* Conducted regular aircheck critique sessions with the talent? (I hear program directors around the world laughing at that question.)
In fact, do you even listen to the program yourself?
Probably not. And I’m not criticizing you.
But you’re looking for a Radio Programming execution of a Radio Sales strategy.