Sunday, January 20, 2008

A Thousand to One

If you were handicapping a sporting event and put a team’s odds at 1000 to 1, you’d be saying their chances of winning were a real long shot.

I came across my own thousand-to-one long shot last week while analyzing a fall book for a client. It was the PPDV (per person diary value) for a male cell and it came in at 1,052. That’s one diary equaling 1,052 people. 1052 to 1 if you will.

When I calculated the same cell for females, I got a second cell with a PPDV nearly as large: 987. 987 to 1.

Would you consider the reliability of the ratings for that demo a sure thing or a long shot?

PPDVs in and of themselves are not the sole measure of reliability, but they certainly are an indicator. Average 18-34 and 35-49 PPDVs have been noticeably on the rise since 2003 and, as of two years ago, had already approached 700 and 600 respectively.

Now it appears things are getting worse.

I contacted some fellow consultants in several formats including country to see if they’d begun seeing 1000 PPDVs. Unfortunately they had.

One national rep’s researcher even said 1000+ PPDVs are now “very common” and are moving out of the 18-24 cells and into the 25-34 and 35-44 cells, and for women as well as men.

I also checked with Mike Oakes who does a good bit of behind the scenes ratings research for A&O and he recalled a near-1600 PPDV for 18-24 males and an over 1700 PPDV for 18-24 females - and this was in a major market two years ago. He also recalled PPDV instances over 1000 for men and women 25-34 and one for men 35-44.

We’re already living with rankings where stations with the most, raw QHRs can rank 4th, 5th or worse in a market, and where stations with far less are the market leaders.

We’re already living with PD Advantage reports which tell us that, on successive books, our 10-year core audience is 20-30, then 40-50 and then 30-40.

Now it appears that 1000+ PPDVs could be the next big thing to play in your market.

I ‘get’ the enormity of the challenge of measuring an audience, and this isn’t meant to be a rant or a witch hunt. It’s a recommendation – and a warning - to you that if you’re not in the habit of regularly checking your PPDVs when you receive your numbers, you need to do so starting today. And if you don’t like what you see, you need to call for action.

If PPDVs consistently reach into the 1000+ range, the odds are that confidence levels in our ratings will posted as “long shots.”

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Resolving To Be A Better Programmer

Eight years ago I wrote "25 New Year’s Resolutions for PDs and OMs." It generated a lot of positive feedback and many said they referred to it throughout the year.

Each December since then, I’ve made it a tradition to add five new resolutions to the original list. Now, as 2008 begins, there are 60 resolutions in the latest version A&O clients received.

In no particular order, here are 10 of my favorites and the year they first appeared. Try some that you think will have the biggest, most positive impact on your station and on your personal and professional life.

I hope you have a personally and professionally rewarding 2008! And sometime during the upcoming year, I'd love to hear how the resolutions you selected worked out.

1. Resolve not to manage by crisis. Create and adhere to a personal, daily schedule that insures each day's most important tasks -- the ones that will truly move the station forward -- will be completed. (2001)

2. Get out of the station one day per month and do a full-blown competitive monitor (p.s.: don't monitor at home). Critically compare targeting, uniqueness, imaging, morning shows, overall talent, music mix, and other key listener benefits and opportunities. Develop plans to attack your competitions' weaknesses and for shoring up your own vulnerabilities. (2001)

3. Program with immediacy, maintaining a mindset of, "How can I get this on the air right now?" (2002)

4. Don't stop at the first right answer; that's what most people do or expect. To stand out, keep thinking until you come up with at least three more ways to make things bigger, better, more unique, memorable, and fun. (2003)

5. Build a team, not a group of players. A team is more than the sum of its parts when 1) there’s respect for and appreciation of the many one-of-a-kind roles that make essential contributions to a team’s overall success; 2) each person recognizes that their individual performance impacts everyone else and accepts responsibility to always perform at their best; and 3) that everyone else realizes they are better as a group because of each other, not because of any one player including (and especially) themselves. (2004)

6. Increase your positive, creative stimuli. The more time you spend in this environment, the more positive and creative you will become. Seek out people, places, adventures, and media that will elevate and encourage rather than deflate and damage. Excuse yourself from negative discussions and individuals and avoid downbeat situations whenever possible. (2004)

7. Invest in talent training in a similar way you’d invest in sales training. Set a new bar for talent and replace those that can’t achieve what you need them to. Increasing the DJ entertainment value on your station will pre-empt satellite radio’s new talent focus and offer a non-duplicatable alternative to IPOD-like devices – not to mention other terrestrial competitors. Begin this in earnest now while we still have the critical mass of listeners and personality association. (2005)

8. Be a “Hijacker.” Find ways to put yourself in the middle of what everyone is talking about in order to steal the limelight. (2005)

9. Spend time with both your strategies and your tactics. Each is necessary for success. It’s tempting to spend an increasing amount of time on just tactics, but too much tactical focus can put your core strategy at risk. Additionally, failure to make tactics a coordinated part of your overall strategy can result in tactical underperformance. (2007)

10. Everyday, make a conscious decision to enjoy your job, to have fun at work and to create a positive environment for those around you. The attitude you choose each day will be reflected back to you from your co-workers. If you would really rather do something other than radio, you should do it. But if you're going to continue in our industry, don't live in the past, dwell on what you don’t have, or get dragged into the depressing lair and unproductive lamentations of malcontents. If you do, you'll be unable to see the opportunities that lie ahead. Even worse, you'll miss the magic, joys and triumphs that happen around you everyday. (2003)