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Are You Having a Party?

You’re throwing a grand party on September 14. Parties on Thursdays are unusual – hopefully people will take notice. If you program or manage a radio station in the US, September 14 starts the Fall quarterly for both PPM and Diary markets. You’re probably hoping that something north of one person in six in your market is going to attend your houseparty every week through early December. You’re counting on many of those attendees to drop in daily – and at least some of them to drop in a few times every day and hang out for a while.

Of course, if you’re throwing a party, you make a guest list. Or, in this case, develop a Big-Data savvy list of who you want to invite (that is, target) through your marketing. While you’d actually like as many people as possible to attend, in this analogy, you want to limit the number of people you have to pay to contact. Big Data helps do that.

You send out party invitations well in advance. These days people use digital tools like Evite or lists within Social Media for invitations. Reminders to listen as we head toward the Fall ratings periods make great sense, whether they’re within your stations’ organic outreach or via paid promotions. (Disclosure: NuVoodoo provides such services, including the Big Data targeting.)

Mailed invitations are still employed for fancy affairs. And, direct mail is a great tool for higher ratings. That physical piece in a listener’s hand has an impact (and correlates nicely to type of person who becomes a Nielsen respondent and starts her/his participation at the mailbox). Of course, when costly printing and postage is involved, it’s critical to keep the list as efficient as possible and employ all the advantages of digital printing. Here, again, Big Data is key. (Disclosure: NuVoodoo provides such services.)

Preparing for a party, it’s common to ask those you’re inviting what food and beverages they like. Making sure your music research results are up to date, so you can tailor your playlist perfectly is, of course, of paramount importance. (Disclosure: Yes, NuVoodoo provides these services, too.)

Getting the house ready, cleaning the bathrooms, decorating for the party – you can follow this part of the analogy where you will. But, it IS important to have anticipated what you’ll need during the Fall book. Sufficient staffing for your event team. Key on-air staff members locked down to be on the air throughout; vacations finished for the year or held off until after December 6. Station vehicles serviced and spruced up. Transmitters maintained and ready. On-air chain ready. PPM encoders working. Booths and banners cleaned and ready, etc.

At the party, the host thanks people for coming. It’s perhaps a small point, but thanking people for listening gets forgotten sometimes. Done well, it makes listeners feel good (and, ultimately, good feelings are a huge reason that people tune in/come to your party).

Great hosts introduce party guests to other guests. The analogy here is shoutouts to people who are listening. There are examples of stations and hosts that do this wonderfully. It’s another way to make people feel good. Dale Carnegie famously said, “Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” The more you say names on the air and the easier you make it to submit names, the more people will participate.

We like parties in part because we like shared experiences. That bond, being able to talk to someone else about the shared experience is important. It’s one of the aspects that radio retains over Spotify/Pandora/etc. Even if you don’t know “Craig and the guys from C&R Glass in West Chester,” you may be able to relate to the town or occupation. Enough names and towns on the air, something relatable is likely to come up. Hearing a friend’s name or workplace may inspire someone to contact that friend and talk about your station.

See where this party analogy takes you in your pre-book planning. Thanks for reading.

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