You’re Hosting a Party on September 14!


You’re throwing a party about nine weeks from now on September 14. Parties on Thursdays are unusual, so hopefully people will take notice. If you program or manage a radio station in the US, September 14 starts the Fall book for both PPM and Diary markets. With nine weeks to prepare, lots of things are possible now that won’t be possible as the book draws nearer.

You’re probably hoping that something approaching one person in six in your market is going to attend your open house every week through early December. You’re counting on many of those attendees to drop in daily and at least some of them to come over a few times every day and hang out for a while – maybe the whole day.

Since you’re throwing a party, you’ll need a guest list. Big Data can help build the list of those you want to invite (that is, target) through your marketing. While you’d 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.

Mailed invitations are still used for important affairs – and direct mail is a great tool. A physical piece of mail in the listener’s hand has a strong impact for people ages 25 and up (younger people are less likely to look at the things delivered by the postal service). The first contact for many Nielsen respondents is at the mailbox, so direct mail stands an outsized chance of connecting with the right individuals. (Disclosure: NuVoodoo has tools and techniques that can minimize waste and maximize impact, especially in PPM markets.)

Digital campaigns can be spun up more quickly, but more planning time still equals more options and guarantees better execution of your plans. Making sure your targeting is optimal and your artwork is perfect is worth the time. (Disclosure: This is the bread and butter of the NuVoodoo marketing team. They sweat the details so that you can spend more time focused on the critical on-air elements.)

Some hosts like to plan games for their guests. Station contesting remains a tactic that can deliver an outsized impact on ratings (since we know that most ratings respondents participate because of the money and prizes available). Contests come in a lot of shapes and sizes. The new NuVoodoo Ratings Prospects Study being released later this month will have fresh advice on prizes and contest executions. And the NuVoodoo marketing team has years of past studies to draw from if you need immediate answers. Or you could ask about contest prizes in your station callout or in a quick survey emailed to your loyal listeners.

Careful party planners consider the kind of music their guests will enjoy. Some guests will stop by for just a few minutes – but you’re hoping some will spend a huge part of their day(s) with you. Making sure your music research is up to date so you can tailor your playlist perfectly is critical. (Disclosure: Yes, NuVoodoo provides music research for lots and lots of stations and has options to get testing done quickly and on a budget.)

Twelve weeks is a long time for a party. It IS important to anticipate what you’ll need during the Fall book. Sufficient staffing for your events team. Key on-air staff locked in to be on the air throughout; vacations finished from Labor Day until after Thanksgiving. Station vehicles spruced up and serviced. Transmitters maintained and ready. On-air chain ready. PPM encoders working. Booths and banners cleaned and ready, etc.

At the party, the host greets guests, thanks them for coming and spends time making each feel welcome. 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 ask about their guests, steer the conversation to things that will be interesting to guests – and avoid talking about themselves incessantly. Make sure between-the-songs content meets the goal of being interesting and/or entertaining to listeners.

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 effortlessly. It’s another way to make people feel good. Dale Carnegie famously said, “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.