Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Expecting the Unexpected: Preparing Now to Manage a Future Crisis

The past few weeks have provided strong reminders that PR disasters happen.

Simply opening Facebook these days should provide you sufficient encouragement to have a plan for how you would handle a worst-case scenario.

Radio is far from immune from things suddenly going very wrong: from something that aired that wasn’t supposed to, to a contesting misstep, to the exiting of a popular talent.

A good starting point for reviewing or creating your own PR disaster plan comes from this piece by Steve Gosset that appeared in the Harvard Business School's Harvard Management Communication.
  • Develop a “decisive and sincere” response that shows humility by admitting mistakes and promising to make amends. This can help minimize long term brand damage.
  • Have someone in authority be the face of this honest empathy. Leadership should be perceived as understanding the problem, managing the situation, and doing the right thing. One caveat: be sure the brand spokesperson can believably convey the message. And avoid “No Comment” or being non-responsive. Both can be perceived as guilt.
  • Create a crisis plan and review it annually – even consider a crisis drill.

Jacob Warwick a contributing author to the Percolate Blog and the content manager for Honigman Media suggests learning from other brands’ crisis responses in order to limit brand damage.

Responding quickly is one lesson to embrace.

Citing Yum! Brands’ quick response to a false claim about their beef,
“Taco Bell was quick to respond by revealing the actual ingredients in their recipes and launched a multi-platformed PR campaign that included a public service announcement distributed through their social media outlets such as YouTube, Facebook, and others.”
Warwick pointed to a poll showing that the brand's prompt Facebook efforts were perceived positively by 91% while their YouTube response received an 89% positive response.

He goes on to suggest the following checklist:
  • Understand what happened
  • Establish a simple, consistent, and clear response
  • Create a monitoring system
  • Address small brush fires
  • Have a distribution strategy for apologies
  • Make disasters learning opportunities that can prevent similar situations from occurring in the future

Fast Company’s 5 Steps to Regain Trust After a Disaster offers some additional insights and recommendations:
  • Acknowledge the Issue and setup a task force.
  • Set up a “stop the bleeding team” who will think as the competition thinks (i.e., taking advantage of your situation).
  • Create empathy. Overreact in favor of the consumer
  • Find friends who can help you spread your point of view and talking points.
  • Rebuild your reputation.
"While the short-term machine is in action to manage the outrage, go back to the drawing board and ask yourself what’s needed in order to recover your long-term reputation. Remember you’ve just lost your most essential brand value–trust–so anything and everything you say in the future will be questioned."

Here are some other resources you might find helpful:

And one final thought from Fast Company:
… [a] PR crisis is a wake-up call for every company to prepare in case of a similar blunder. No matter how good you are or how trusted your brand is today, no one’s immune from a PR crisis forever.

Have a crisis-related experience or pre-crisis preparation you'd like to share?

Photo Credit Copyright:

Saturday, April 01, 2017

9 Lessons from Baseball that Can Help Your Radio Station

Baseball likes the number 9:  9 players in the batting order, 9 innings, 9 fielding positions, great players who wore the number 9 like Ted Williams, Roger Marris and Carlos Guillen. 

So in honor of Opening Day 2017, here are 9 ways baseball can inspire you to do your best radio.

And, be warned, we just might go into extra innings.

1. Baseball is played one pitch at a time.

The standings, the win loss record, even the box score are only summations of a game’s pitch by pitch activity.
A pitcher discussing his performance is likely to zero in on a few pitches that made a difference in a game.

Likewise, the impression of a show is earned one break at a time. Think of each break as a pitch that could have a game changing impact.

2. Staying stationary invites others to pass you.

A core principle behind the “Moneyball” strategy is that new thinking can give you a competitive advantage. In the case of Billy Beane and the Oakland A’s it was the suggestion to use was non-traditional metrics to determine the value of a player – perhaps most famously at the time (late 90’s to early 2000’s) a player’s on-base percentage was undervalued while slugging was over-valued.

Stations too can have assets that could be leveraged for greater benefit: someone with raw talent that can be groomed for greatness, someone with untapped creative skills that perhaps is in another department, even non-radio people in the market who could make a positive contribution.

Similarly consider those metrics you already have access too; time spent with those (ratings, research, logs, your music system, etc.) can open new doors of opportunity.

We have so many demands on us that creative thinking and potentially great ideas that have yet to be explored can be casualties of time, resulting in a ‘status quo’ approach that can allow others to capture a competitive advantage that could have been yours.


3. “You don’t save a pitcher for tomorrow. Tomorrow it may rain.” Leo Durocher

In her piece, “Don’t Save the Best for Last,” Psychology Today writer Amy Cooper Rodriguez shares the story of her grandfather who would always squirrel away things until they fall apart instead of using them when they were most valuable. Vegetables that have gone bad would be eaten before the fresh vegetables - which in turn would go bad before finally being eaten.

What’s holding you back from launching your latest great idea, a great coaching tip someone gave you, or working on an area of your performance that you know you want to improve? Fear of failure? Lack of confidence? Simply not giving it a high enough priority? Meaning to get started but never quite getting around to it?

Tony Robbins: “…the greatest gift that extraordinarily successful people have over the average person is their ability to get themselves to take action."


4. Relatedly, the home run is not the only measure of hitting success

Great baseball thinker Paul Johnson puts the value of a home run at three times that of a single. However the ability to home runs is still no guarantee of winning. In fact, a double, a single and a walk have a greater combined value than a homer.

The 2016 Baltimore Orioles had the highest ratio of home runs to at bats - about 1:22. Meanwhile the 2016 World Series Champions the Chicago Cubs were 13th.

The point is, knock your content out of the park when you can, but remember that being able to get on base consistently wins games too.


5. Scouting is Important

Injuries, lapses in performance, schedule changes, are all part of baseball making a team’s farm system an important component of remaining competitive. Staff changes happen for any number of reasons.

Having good people on your radar is smart not because doing so makes it easier to fill vacancies, but rather because it's a strategy that can help maintain or improve your lineup.

No ball team would figure they could replace their all-stars with sub- par players they had to ‘settle for’ and continue to perform at the same level.

A radio station can’t think that way either.


6. “If you don't know where you're going you're gonna wind up some place else.” Yogi Berra

Successful stations (and people for that matter) need a plan - probably lots of them. In radio the list includes ratings and sales plans to get to reach goals, plans for differentiation, a plan for social media, a plan to help your talent improve, and a backup plan or two for should original plans go sideways.


7. “The manager’s job is to do everything it takes to set his or her team up to win.” Earl Weaver
Know each individual on your team: their skills, motivations, values and vulnerabilities. 

Make everyone feel important and valued.

Recognize those with the greatest potential and spend sufficient quality coaching time with them.

Have a well-thought out strategy that takes advantage of your assets.

Solicit input from others.

Writing in Forbes, Glenn Llopis put it this way: “…managers must quickly earn trust from their colleagues to inspire team unity and collaboration that is centered on the fundamental principles of loyalty, communication and transparency. The best managers get it: no explanation required. They are proactive in addressing the needs of their team. They go out of their way to be creative and find new ways to uniquely motivate each member of the team. 

They are always aware of moods, mindset, attitude, and engagement levels. The best managers are the ones who “take one for the team” and can quickly turn around times of duress into rewarding opportunities.


8. Embrace the Bobble Head!

While it varies across ball clubs, playing better generally improves attendance. Still, an effective promotion can goose a single night’s attendance. Bobble Head Night for example has spiked attendance 5000 to 20000. Smaller promotions have helped generate additional if smaller ticket sale increases.

Bobble Heads are prized by fans as limits edition, one of a kind collectible. Fox Sports reports that some are even passed down as family heirlooms.

The key to any successful baseball promotion is the same as it is for radio: know what listeners will respond to and why.

Radio is in a unique position to create once in a lifetime experiences for listeners. Embrace it.


9. Respect the fans

Fans love their team and expect (rightly so) to have the team reciprocate. Such reciprocity starts with a goal of fielding the best team possible and extends to creating a culture where everyone on the team is prepared to contribute and to play "all out" every day on every play – which is a basic fan expectation.

It also means creating a great environment to watch the game in person, the ability to access the game anywhere on any device, to have more than an impersonal relationship with the team.

Country fans have similar expectations. Whether it’s the result of the bond artists have formed with country fans or the personal nature of the music or the efforts of country stations to connect fans to artists, there’s a connectivity expectation.

It’s magic.

Have a mindset of “loving on the fans” and making them feel special


Extra Innings:

10. “If you’ve got a great fastball, throw it.” Mike O’Malley, Consultant/Partner A&O&B

Translation: find out what you’re best at, and do that as often as you can.

I'm always disappointed when I ask an air talent (often new to the business), what it is they do best on the air and get a blank look as an answer. How will you grow your assets if you don't know what they
are?

Sure, you’ll need some additional, solid material to round out your performance, you’ll be remembered by what you do most often – so be sure you’re always playing to your strengths.

It’s opening day every day at our stations – a new day of fun, ideas, creativity, and a chance to connect in a special way with those who have come through our ‘turnstiles.’

Who’s ready to take the field and be awesome?!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Some Satisfying News: Country Radio Satisfaction Levels Tick Up

First, “Thank you!” to all who were a part of A&O&B’s 23rd annual Pre-CRS Seminar Wednesday, February 22nd, in Nashville. From our attendees to our presenters to our sponsor BMLG – we appreciate each of you!

As we’ve done for the past 12 years, we presented some top-line data from our just-out-of-the-field online perceptual study: Roadmap 2017. 

This year’s wonderfully rich report included 11,742 Country Radio Listeners across the US and Canada with 9,138 aged 18-54 - 89% of whom were Country P1s.

For those of you who were unable to join is in person in Nashville, we’re excited about sharing some of the information we presented. We’ll be doing this in installments over the coming weeks.

And for those of you who were able to join us in person, this series will give you an opportunity to revisit some key information designed to help all of us create the best radio we can for our listeners and clients.

Enjoy our first installment: Country Station Satisfaction.  And as always, your feedback and thoughts are most welcome.



Country Station Satisfaction:

Here’s some good news. Country Station Satisfaction is up a tick.

Among our full panel of nearly 12,000 Roadmap 2017 participants, 75% reported being “very satisfied” with their country station. That’s up fractionally from last year’s 74%.

Among 18-54s, 77% of US respondents and 72% of Canadian respondents reported being “very satisfied” with their country stations. This is a slight increase for US stations though a slight decrease for Canadian stations.

We isolated station satisfaction by demo to see if there was difference across demo or change across demo compared to last year.  While Canadian respondents’ opinions varied little from 2016, 18-34 US panelists showed a notable increase in satisfaction.



We pursued the satisfaction by asking respondents what station elements/attributes were important to them in choosing one country station over another.

“Plays the best music for my tastes” was number one in importance and across all four demos while “Makes me feel good when I listen” was second.

Here are the 17 attributes we investigated and how each ranked:


There were some interesting differences across demos.

For example, 18-24s ranked Title and Artist Identification higher than 25-54s though this demo placed identifying titles and artists fourth.

Music Quantity was fifth for all cells though in terms of percentages it was of greater importance to 18-34s.

We also asked panelists how their local stations did in satisfying their listeners in these areas. Overall, stations over-performed in “Makes me feel good when I listen” and “DJs that sound like my friends” (indexing at 101 and 106 respectively).

In aggregate stations indexed close to 100 for both music quality and quantity.

Among all 18-54s, most stations over-indexed on the other 8 offered attributes.

We probed the 6% who expressed some level of dissatisfaction (“somewhat dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied”), why they felt this way. The top three issues for these listeners were, “repeating songs far too frequently,” “too many commercials” and “don’t like the music mix.”

Compared to last year, complaints about song repetition were down in the US (59-54%) and flat in Canada (62-63%).  Having issues with the music mix were down in both the US (29-25%) and Canada (30-26) compared to last year. Complaints about commercial load were flat in the US and down in Canada.

We then asked when dissatisfaction resulted in switching off the station for something else, what (if any) other destination did they most frequently go.

Here’s the four year trend (shown in percentages):


Among the most notable trend is that “Nothing in particular” as a destination continues to fall – now just 9% from close to 25% four years ago suggesting that listeners have increasingly found particular alternatives.

The destinations with the largest growth are services like Pandora and Spotify, owned music, and another AM/FM Country station. As a specific destination, only another AM/FM radio station with a different format declined from last year although that decline was small.

There were differences across demographics. In the US, the top switch-to destination for 18-34s was a service like Pandora or Spotify. 35-44s were equally likely to go there as they were to another AM/FM Country station.  Meanwhile for 45-54s another AM/FM Country station was the top destination.

For Canadians, the top 18-34 choice was a streaming service which tied with owned music. Among 35-54s the top destination was another AM/FM Country station or a satellite or cable option with 45-54s also choosing to listen to music they own.

With overall station satisfaction up, asking how music is faring with listeners compared to last year is a logical next question. For both the US and Canada, 2017 saw a change in what had been a several consecutive years of declining “country is the same or better than last year” scores.

And those scores as well as era preferences, music discovery and more are what we’ll dive into in a future post as we go under the hood on Roadmap 2017.
In the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts with us and fellow readers – they’re always valued.


Clients Only: Access the full Roadmap data here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Roadmap 2017: Six (of the many) Trends We're Watching for Country Radio

As we prepare to send A&O&B's on-line perceptual “Roadmap 2017” into the field, I thought a look back at some of the many topics we explored in last year’s study would be interesting to share again with the idea of doing a follow-up post to see how these same topics look when we complete this year’s survey.

As background, nearly 10,000 Country Listeners across the US and Canada participated in last year’s project which ran for three weeks in January and February. From that data, I did a quick pull of 18-49 US and Canadian respondents’ feedback on “In-Car Connectivity,” “Switching Behavior,” Station Satisfaction” (different from Music Satisfaction), “Listener Hot Buttons,” “Social Behavior,“ and “Loyalty.”

Here is what the data revealed.
  1. In-car connectivity increased significantly from 2015. While all demos saw an increase compared to last year, 18-34’s were the most likely to be connected compared to 35-54’s. Plus, the percent of connected 18-34s grew at a greater level than that of 35-54s.
  2. Country switching behavior was more decisive – at least in terms of what format listeners switched to when leaving their favorite country station. “Nothing in particular” fell by roughly 30% while the greatest increase was “Switching to another AM/FM radio station with a different format.” The percent switching to a Podcast doubled though that choice was far behind others including “Nothing in particular.”
  3. While overall station satisfaction levels remained high, there was a slight decline again this year the top tier – the “Very Satisfied” response group. The greatest dip was among 18-24s.
  4. “Playing the best music” continues to be the number one “hot button” for listeners followed by “makes me feel good when I listen,” “DJs who sound like my friends,” and song quantity. Last year song/artist identification broke into the Top 5.
  5. The social media platform with the largest increase of daily usage year over year was Instagram.
  6. The P1 "Switichability Resistance" remained strong - near 50% - thus maintaining a high bar for format challengers.
Each of these six pull-outs presents some important thinking points for 2017:
  • How are we leveraging the unique assets we own?
  • What are any listener-perceived vulnerabilities or opportunities?
  • What will our strategy be in a time of lower “switch to” cume?
  • Knowing what listeners’ hot buttons are, how are we satisfying those wants and needs?
  • How are we managing our social media strategies and efforts?

Roadmap 2017 will go into the field this week and provide us with fresh, new listener feedback to consider.  Participating stations will receive not only the national data, but also separate feedback from their own listeners in a special, local, custom breakout. This year, we’ve added even more questions that offer head-to-head local comparisons of the perceptions OUR listeners hold vs. those of our direct format competitors.

We’ll present top line national findings for both the US and Canada surveys at A&O&B’s 23rd annual pre-CRS Seminar in Nashville, Wednesday, February 22nd at 10am.

We hope you can make it.

You can RSVP to the A&O&B session here.

You can register for CRS 2017 here.

Inquire about Roadmap participation here.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Formats with the Most Momentum Entering 2017: Questions to Ask As You Survey the Competitive Landscape

Towards the end of each year, Nielsen releases its Top Audio Trends report which lists the 10 leading formats in terms of share for the past January through November in PPM markets.  There are separate rankings for 6+, 18-34 and 25-54.

In 2016 News-Talk led in 6+ with CHR winning 18-34 and 25-54. Country and CHR were the only formats to rank in the top three in each demo.

Here are last year’s top three formats.

6+18-3425-54
News/TalkCHRCHR
CHRCountryCountry
ACHot ACAC

Breaking out the formats by demo, it’s tempting to cite the election as driving News/Talk’s position. However, while this year’s 6+ shares were notably higher, the format has been the top 6+ format in each of the last four years.

Of all formats that have been in the top 10 over this time, the format with the greatest 6+ growth since 2013 is Hot AC (+0.9) with Classic Rock a close second (+0.8) and Sports (+0.4).

6+2013201420152016
N/T9.38.88.99.6
CHR8.28.38.28.1
AC7.77.17.47.5
Country7.88.27.97.4
Hot AC5.56.26.76.4
Classic Hits5.35.25.35.3
Classic Rock4.34.75.25.1
Urban AC5.04.94.94.8
Sports4.34.44.74.7
Urban Contemp3.53.7
Mex Regional3.93.73.7

Among 18-34s, Urban Contemporary saw the largest growth since 2013 (+1.3) and has added shares each year. Hot AC also had strong growth 18-34 (+1.2) followed by Classic Rock (+0.9).

18-342013201420152016
CHR12.412.312.412.2
Country9.19.89.18.6
Hot AC6.17.17.67.3
Urban Contemp5.35.86.56.6
AC6.35.96.46.5
Rhythmic CHR7.36.75.85.1
Alt5555
Mex Regional5.65.24.65
Classic Rock3.63.94.54.5
NT3.73.53.64.1

Among 25-54s, Hot AC is the growth leader (+0.9) with Classic Rock next (0.7) and Sports third (+0.4).

25-542013201420152016
CHR8.7998.8
Country7.587.87.3
AC7.56.97.27.1
Hot AC6.16.87.27.0
NT6.86.26.26.9
Classic Rock4.75.35.75.4
Sports4.955.25.3
Classic Hits4.64.54.54.7
Urban AC6.14.84.84.6
Mex Regional4.74.64.14.5

Over the four year period, Hot AC and Classic Rock were the two formats registering the largest gains in all demos.

Across the same time period, Country was off half a share or less in each demo (-0.4, -0.5 and -0.2). However the declines since the format’s highs in 2014 are steeper: -0.8, -0.8 and -0.7.

Shares differ in the diary universe. This trended 12+ format information is available only to diary subscribers via Nielsen’s Audio Today Appendix.

Regardless of the methodology, these questions are worth considering as we start a New Year:
  1. What are the major trends in my market (station trends, demo shifts, market AQH, etc.)?
  2. What are key factors driving these trends for my format as well as my competitors’?
  3. What should my station’s responses be to each of these factors?

As we start the New Year, a quick look back can be a useful tool in moving forward.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

COMMITTED TO DOING YOUR BEST SHOWS EVER IN 2017? THEN YOU’RE TO BE T.O.A.S.T.E.D.

We’re fresh off toasts to the start of a new year - or perhaps instead you toasted “good riddance” to 2016.

Either way it’s probable that someone, somewhere, recently brought up New Year’s Resolutions.

I have no beef with resolutions though often they can be too vague (lose weight) or too negative (stop doing something).

Better I think to plan for self-improvement in the New Year with specific, positive goals and an easy to follow map to help you get where you want to go.

So if improving the quality and engaging nature of your content one break at a time is a goal for 2017, you deserved to be toasted: T.O.A.S.T.ED.

T.O.A.S.T.ED. in this case is an acronym you can use as a checklist for strengthening your content while it’s still in the developmental stage. Each letter offers a way to power up your idea for maximum impact.

Here’s what the letters stand for:


T=Targeted
O=Original
A=Accessible
S=Shareable
T=Timely
E=Engaging
D=Defining


Let's look at each.


Targeted

"Camera angle" is a phrase I first heard from friend and talent coach Tommy Kramer. It's one of the most useful and important "checks" you should subject your idea to. Fixing the camera angle is another way of asking, “What’s the best way to fame this content?”

Most content has multiple camera angles and some will make a deeper connection than others. The angle you choose plays a big part in determining the impact of your material. Consider as may angles as you can before deciding on the one that is most aligned with the target and their perceptions of you and the station.



Original

Everyone has access to the same information as you do. Plus, by the time your next show rolls around, you may be dealing with something many people already know. But an original perspective overcomes these potential pitfalls.

Your personal “take” on a topic makes your content unique and valuable. It also helps clarify who you are and what you stand for (there’s more on that in Defining).




Accessible

There are lots of moving parts to accessibility including pre-promotion, recycling, repurposing, social, and archiving. Planning for full accessibility from the start not only means maximum reach for your material, but also can foster new ideas for iterating your original concept.




Shareable

Accessibility is part of this of course, but before that comes quality. It's either great or it's spam. Your brand is at stake so be sure you’ve done all you can to fully exploit your material.

This would be a great place to invoke the Seven Magic Words (“That’s great – what else can we do?”).




Timely

Even a great take can be neutered by tardiness. Delayed delivery of time sensitive content sends a message that this item wasn't particularly important to you. That's a big problem if it was important to listeners.

"Continuing content," such as those long-running concert announcements need special attention as well. Your best bet here is to refer back to “T” and “O” for ways to inject freshness into items with long shelf lives.




Engaging

Simply put, how will you get me to have a stake in this piece of content - at least enough of a stake to keep my attention and interest? This is also a critical question for multi-break content.

What is there in the content and execution that will repeatedly bring me back for more?

What has been included to encourage virtual or actual listener participation?




Defining

Over time what you do on your show will help define who you are to listeners. That's exciting when you're working to make every break count, but it’s a hard dose of reality when you’re winging it.



If improving your content is one of your goals for the New Year, try applying the T.O.A.S.T.E.D. checklist to your work.

Check in during the year and share how it’s going.

Cheers! And here's to a great year ahead!





Tuesday, December 20, 2016

2016: Country's Top 10 Songs, Top 5 Artists, and 5 Thoughts for 2017

We’ve made a list and checked it twice (actually, it’s more like a dozen times).

The “list” is our annual A&O&B Top Songs and Artists of the Year list for the year 2016.

Each year we create our research-driven list using a formula heavily weighted by our online and callout data, and data rankings for every song we played and tested for at least six weeks.

Getting right to it, here is A&O&B’s Top 10 for 2016:


Rank
Artist
Title
1
Rhett, Thomas
Die A Happy Man
2
Swindell, Cole
You Should Be Here
3
Florida-Georgia Line
H.O.L.Y
4
Bentley, Dierks
Different For Girls
5
Bryan Luke w/Karen Fairchild
Home Alone Tonight
6
Rhett, Thomas
T-Shirt
7
Hunt, Sam
Make You Miss Me
8
Swindell, Cole
Middle of a Memory
9
Bryan, Luke
Huntin' Fishin' and Lovin' Everyday
1o
Bryan, Luke
Move


The Songs:

This year we could use "contrast" to sum up a lot of what we saw: many songs showing higher Like A Lot  scores yet lower Total Positive scores.

The Like A Lot average for the 88 songs we tested improved compared to last year.  However the Total Positive scores for the Top 1/3 of the best Like A Lot testers tied a six-year low. 

Also troubling this year was the decline in the percent of songs scoring well enough to be retained in one of our recurrent categories. In fact, the percent of 2016’s currents that went on to recurrent is the lowest percent since we began tracking this metric.

This should generate a number of thinking points.


The Artists:

Meanwhile on the artist front, based on our Top Songs of 2016, Luke Bryan was A&O&B’s Top Artist of the year. He placed the three songs (including his duet with Karen Fairchild) in the Top 10.

Rounding out our Top Five Artists for 2016 were Thomas Rhett, Carrie Underwood, Florida-Georgia Line and Keith Urban. With two songs in the Top 10, Cole Swindell had a strong year as well.

We always track the impact of New Artists, particularly those that break through with top testing songs – something that’s never been easily accomplished.

Without getting into speculation about why that may be, the fact remains that historically our Top 1/3 contains scant few first timers. This year is no exception as just three artists - William Michael Morgan, Maren Morris and Chris Stapleton – had songs that finished in the Top 1/3.



Tempo:

“We don’t have enough tempo songs!” was oft echoed in programming’s hallowed halls this year. In fact, one label was quick to point this out as they worked a non-ballad.

And yes, at least as far as the Top 1/3, there were a lot of ballads.

It was the second strong year in a row ballads have had. Four of the top five songs both this year and in 2015 were ballads. Top 10 ballad presence was strong too with ballads accounting for 6 of the Top Ten testing titles (seven last year, five in 2014, four in 2013 and three in 2012)

Whether the higher number of top testing ballads is coming from stronger ballads and/or story-lines, listener tempo saturation, or other issues, for the second year in a row and fourth time in six years, ballads indexed higher than non-ballads when it came to the percent of songs that tested in the Top 1/3.



Five Things to Do in 2017
  1. While an up-tempo presentation – music, talent, quick fun, etc. makes for a highly listenable station, don’t fear ballads; they have tested very well especially over the past few years.
  2. Give fresh consideration to the number of currents you’re playing and to their exposure. Similarly, review how you’re managing Recurrents.  Balance "churn" and "burn."
  3. Absolutely play today’s Core Artists but, as a current-based format, we need to develop the next group of Superstars to augment our current list (many of whom have now been Core Artists for a decade or more). But be selective; embrace those that polish your brand.
  4. Giving appropriate exposure to high passion songs while taking lower Total Positive scores into consideration will be a challenge in 2017.  Weekly, LOCAL music research is your secret weapon.
  5. Music coding will be critical as programmers need to manage higher passion/lower positive songs as well as control for the six different genres of music the format has. Revisit your existing coding and rules to make sure they reflect the current music landscape and work together to give you the sound you seek.

Thanks for the read.  Anytime in the coming months that you feel like having a conversation about the country format, your station, talent, or radio in general, we hope you’ll ring us up.

And, as we roll into another year, the entire A&O&B team wants to pass along our warmest wishes for health, happiness and success!

Read about 2015’s Top Songs and Artists here.

Read about 2014’s Top Songs and Artists here.

The extended Client Only version can be accessed here  (password required).