It's that time of the year when we make our list and check it twice - hopefully we've been nice and Santa will deliver. What's on the list for radio programmers? Here's a few suggestions:
- Better Ratings: The old diary/ballot system with land line telephone recruited samples is our worst enemy. It's not fair, accurate or trustworthy and we have the technology to make it better. PPM now seems a long ways off and for most of the markets beyond market 40 in the U.S. and outside the top 10 in Canada we might as well put 'world peace' on our list. Perhaps our wish here should be for a competitor for Arbitron and BBM - maybe that would speed up the process.
- HD Radio: This is looking like that toy that you wanted as a kid and when it arrived you had big plans to play with it all the time. By January it was sitting at the bottom of the toy box. No budget to make the new channels happen, no radios in the field to broadcast to, and lots of other toys for the audience to play with.
- Music: Wouldn't it be great if we had a steady supply of great music for our formats? One that we could rely on to bring the best to us in an organized manner without the mess around royalty issues.
- The Web: We could all use a lot more presence on the web. Some of it takes money, but lots of it takes dedication, awareness, and discipline to actually make it happen. While we might have lots of little 'stocking stuffers' for Santa to bring here a lot of this is up to us to dive in and stake a claim in the new frontier.
- More Talent: Everyone has gone through a lot of downsizing and we all operate with a lot fewer bodies and less talent in the building than we did 10 years ago. Just building more formatic jukeboxes is not a road radio can win on anymore. We need the magic personalities, creative imagers, and the people to build those all important local ties/images bring to great stations. It takes money, but how well are we using the resources we have?
- Better Team Management: We all have to make the most of what we have. Over the years I've seen lots of stations turn in great progress and ratings not because they spend the most, but because the team is inspired by the leadership. Santa can't put leadership in his sack and get it down the chimney - we have to learn how to do it.
- A Big Promotion Budget: Yes we'd all like to give away big prizes in contests, have billboards all over town, and maybe a new TV spot running all the time, but again we have to ask - are we using the resources we have? Is your imaging organized to make the most of the huge cume you already have (PPM has proven we have TONS of cume). Are you taking advantage of building a full presence at community events? Do you have a strong calendar of on air events and promotions to keep the audience entertained all the time? Are you using all the tools and toys of the web to interact with the audience and build more loyalty with them?
As I look down this list the presents are either ones that Santa can't make with the Elves (like the Music, HD and Ratings issues) or ones that we really need to 'make ourselves' (Promotions, Talent, team management and the Web). So now it's your turn on Santa's Lap and the list is down to ------ Guitar Hero 3. Merry Christmas.