“Radio Algebra: Five Formulae for Success” was something I wrote a number of years ago when Jaye and I presented a daylong programming and talent seminar in Atlantic City. I wrote them to be playful yet helpful, not of course to be serious math.
Through the years we’ve used the Five Formulae as a marketing piece, printed them on bookmarks that we slipped into music history books we gave away as Christmas gifts one year, and used them as the basis for a number of in-station presentations.
It’s been a while since the Five Formulae’s last ‘public appearance,’ so if you've never seen them or if you once saved a print out of them but lost it (I just saw them last week hanging on a PD’s cork board which made me think about posting them here), here’s a re-visit.
#1: EV > CL (Entertainment Value must be Greater than the Cost of Listening)
The greater the positive distance EV is from CL, the better chance you have of increased listening. Grow EV with strong talent and content, creative imaging, entertaining promotions, the best music, and more. Increase CL with clutter, imbalance, irrelevance, unwarranted hype, violating listener values and expectations, and violating the brand promise.
#2: E (P1) * N = L * N (Empowering Listeners Equals a Proportional Increase in Loyalty)
The more your best listeners feel empowered (and loved, understood, embraced, etc.), the more loyalty you’ll earn. Want cheerleaders, station evangelists, sneezers, and fans? Shift from ‘control’ to ‘unleash and inspire.’
#3: T (x) = B (x) (The Stronger Your Talent, The Stronger Your Brand)
Strong talent is a major weapon against competitors and alternative media. It’s an asset that’s not readily ‘covered.’ Time spent developing talent is generally time well invested.
True understanding of your listeners' values and infusing your product with those values tells listeners you 'get' and care about them. You'll be rewarded with loyalty and evangelism.
#5: B (n) = B (n) (Balance All Elements of Your Station)
The different music styles that make up your playlist, the ratio of talk-to-music, heart-to-laughter, etc. - know your elements and what your station's formula for these should be. Since some elements like music are constantly changing, you'll want to review your balance frequently and correct anything that's out of proportion.
Who said 8th grade Algebra isn’t useful?
Have a formula or two you'd like to share? Feel free!