Friday, November 20, 2009

Campus Radio

Been visiting a few Universities as one of my children gets ready to pick a school. It does bring back some great memories of the college days and of course I spent most of it in the Campus Radio world. I usually end up wandering into the campus station just to see what is going on, or at least ask a few questions.

In a recent visit I was rather surprised at the 'policy' for the campus station. First the station was all programmed by the students with some help from the broadcasting faculty and looked like it was pretty well done with an Alt/Indy format and special programs for some minorities and special interest groups. They had a decent FM low power signal that probably covered the campus and the small city fairly well. The station looked to be pretty staffed with people in on a Saturday morning doing shows. The professor giving the tour of the communications department mentioned that you need to sign up early to be a DJ if you want good shifts. So there was a student interest here.

When I asked if they stream the station - 'we've been trying to get the 'Board' to approve it, but they are scared.' What??? It's OK for the campus and the city to hear it, but not elsewhere? I would think it might be a recruiting tool - you can catch a little of the campus life by listening. Catch some of the 'music vibe' of the school. As important as music is to most 18-24 year olds it's probably worth more than the condition of the pool table in the rec-room.

Then as we toured the Union and the eating area they had some music playing and it was obviously a radio station. I thought it might be the Campus station. It wasn't - they had on a Sirius - Mix modern hot AC channel. I'm sure the campus really rocks out when they play Huey Lewis and the News.

Too bad the school didn't support the station. This school was pretty into their broadcasting department with a school cable TV channel coming on soon, a full weather department geared at teaching TV meteorology, complete with a Doppler radar.

We do need to work more with our local colleges and their radio programs. The air staff and the PDs should be stopping by to host a class, invite them to the station and try to help the faculty with any materials they might need. Not only do we need more people in our talent pools, but we also need to keep radio relevant on the campus scene. In this case we can do something so reach out and drop you local broadcasting faculty an email - and help the future.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

At Work Listening

It's still a BIG key to building P1s, long TSL and big shares in valuable demos, but there are new rules. In the 90s At Work listening really took center stage, first with AC stations and then to Classic Rock for the most part. We ran special at work contests, dropped by with pizza for lunch, called the offices with 'secret contests' to build listening, tried building at work databases, and ran endless 'at work network' imaging to try and build this audience.

Most of these programs had some success in the 90s and we could see big At Work listening shares for the stations that followed the programs. Over the last 10 years it's still important, but a lot has changed:

  1. A lot more Media to Choose from at work. You all know the list of new media suspects here.
  2. More listening done on Computers. According to the latest Nielsen Internet Media studies around 7% of all listening is done on computers and around 1/2 of that is done at work. As we see more smart phones, Wifi spots, and even more people realizing they can use their computer with decent quality to listen this number will grow. You don't need to lug the radio to work any more to listen.
  3. At Work is not just In Office. We've known this for years, but a lot of our strategy seemed to have that rare vision of a radio playing for a bunch of people in cubical office set ups. That's only the case in a very few spots - it's a lot more individual now and it can happen in delivery vehicles, in the shop, with people who travel locally to sell, and even at home as they work.
Here are some new and familiar workplace listening ideas that might help:
  • An At Work website - We have special pages for the Morning Show, how about for listening at work. Maybe with some obvious links, workplace jokes/cartoons, job listings, and maybe some at work news stories. You could also link up with some workplace tools like - google calendars etc.
  • Wallpaper/Screen Savers - People still theme and decorate their computers, how about some of these old tricks to get your message on the computer screen everyday.
  • Creative Imaging - Have some fun between the songs with work humor, workplace of the day, and some testimonials from the audience.
  • Make sure your air talent visualizes their audience at their workplaces during the day.
It will be harder to track at work listening as PPM becomes currency. You can't tell if a meter is at work, in the car or just roaming around the market. You can only measure if the meter is at home or away from home. In the diaries the listener had the option to note if the listening was at work but not in the PPM world.

There are also issues with PPM tracking on-line listening with getting the encoded signal in the stream and also having the levels up enough to register with the meter. And there are also issues with the stream being different programming with Arbitron since we often replace the national voices in the spot breaks on the stream.

Still, at work listening is very important and if you don't focus on it with a well thought out plan you will see more and more new media invade this great source of TSL and P1 audience.