Ten Ways to Improve Ratings (and Radio) in 2018

Thinking about ways to improve ratings in the year ahead, we looked back at what we’d written about radio this year. A number of ideas jumped back out at us – some that we’ve written about more than once. Overall, ten ideas stood out:

  1. View Spotify, Pandora and their peers as serious competition. Declining PUMM and PUR levels in midday prove the erosion. As a tactical matter, NuVoodoo has gotten results by targeting these digital listeners and bringing them back to terrestrial radio in pursuit of a contest prize. In effect, you’re renting these listeners with your contest bribe.
  2. Make sure your station is Alexa-friendly – and then teach listeners what to say so that they can listen on the new smart speaker they get at Christmas and set up in their bedrooms.
  3. Work to make commercials sound better. We may not be able to roll back the inventory, but we can work to make what we run sound more pleasing – and get better results for clients.
  4. Make sure your promos use a variety of sounds and approaches. If most promos have been cinematic, with lots of production value, a straight read will stand out. If lots of promos have used humor, one that’s touching will engage different listeners. At it’s very best, taking full advantage of the palette of sounds and techniques available should help keep listeners eager to hear what’s going to happen Look for emotional connections in addition to things that sound good in the production room.
  5. Remind listeners to set a preset for your station. The infotainment systems in new cars can make it tricky and non-intuitive to change or even listen to terrestrial radio. Helping listeners stay connected with your station deserves your time and attention.
  6. Make sure there are people at your station trained and empowered to respond on your station’s behalf in Social Media. Again and again people in our studies say they pay more attention to stations that interact with them in Social Media.
  7. Consider remotes as a promotional tactic for your station. The live focus group of Women 18-29 we did at the Country Radio Seminar back in February spoke about missing seeing stations out live in the community. There are lots of pitfalls of live, on-location events, but there are potential rewards, too. And look at other old/new tactics for inspiration on driving TSL and engagement.
  8. Build bridges with younger consumers; explore new programming. They don’t have the affinity for radio that their parents and grandparents have, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reach out to them through new media to make connections – and try to win their listening.
  9. Seriously, what are you waiting for? The personalities at your station may have specific knowledge and passion about a vertical that’s too narrow to do much with on their shows, but may be able to attract a monetizable audience as a podcast. The public affairs programs you produce now to protect your license might have an audience of people intensely interested in the topics you cover (who just don’t happen to be people who get up and listen to the radio on Sunday mornings at 5:00).
  10. Build database and Social Media connections. These connections give you another path by which to communicate with your fans. And remember, to get these listeners to give up their information and a bit of their privacy, you have to give them benefits. Those benefits may be early info on new station music, events and/or contests. It could be some “unfair advantage” in station contests. It needs to be something.

We hope the above makes up for the Thirty Things You Can Do to Destroy Your Ratings we published last week. Thanks for reading.