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Five Rules of Music Radio on AM

1. AM radio is sort of like a mall with one store open, so you’d better be a damn good store if you’re going to attract people and keep them coming back. Since roughly 80% of the listening public doesn’t even tune to AM radio, word-of-mouth is essential.

2. People who listen to music on AM radio are probably unhappy with all the choices on FM, so being too mainstream might *NOT* be the best idea. Whatever you do must be unique enough that people will seek you out, BUT at the same time, popular enough to pull ratings. Some good examples: WPEN, WJAS, WHBC.

3. People expect more talk on AM radio, so I think there is a real possibility for more personality (in a compelling foreground sense) along with the music, and less of all the “less talk” positioning that dominates music-oriented FM radio. See also point number 5 below.

4. Expect and program to an older audience, unless you’re doing Radio Disney.

5. Local, local, local, local, local, local. As many meaningful service elements as you can possibly cram in, including the news, weather, traffic, horoscopes, obituaries, and PSA’s about the church bingo down the street, if it’s relevant to your market, audience and format. In short…be full-service in all respects.

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