In the wake of a radio giant
The alleged Clear Channel memo to PD’s read on the air by Howard Stern (courtesy of Bill Figenshu):
To All Clear Channel Program Directors, 1. You can’t assume that the morning show ratings battle is a zero-sum game post Stern. Don’t expect Howard’s audience to vote for another show immediately after he’s off. Stern listeners don’t have to give reported listening to any other morning show. We already know most male listeners are a pissed-off group to begin with. This audience, lightning quick to judge and critique, will be very difficult to win over. Help your morning show focus on delivering ‘A’ material now more than ever. There’s less margin for error and filler material. Howard’s audience will have their B.S. meters set up on super-sensitive. You should plan on taking a more active role serving as executive producer. All the marketing imaginable will do little good in converting Stern listeners unless our product is strong. 2. C students don’t instantly become B students just because the A student, Howard, moves on…..It may be a mistake for your developing morning show to suddenly go from a seven-song clock to three songs and attempt to appeal to Stern fans unless that show is TRULY ready to deliver quality material with a reduced-song-count structure. Beware of the potential trap. Forcing the issue can expose the weaknesses of shows quickly as Stern’s listeners shop around. 3. Look for more opportunities to upgrade morning show on-air support staff and off-air producer positions. Don’t accept the comfort zone if the pieces are not strong enough. 4. Freshen the packaging on the morning show, including beds, bumpers and service elements. It’s time to re-invent or simply drop an old benchmark bit which in some cases can make the show sound tired. Make sure you’re using audio effectively. Continue to ride quality-control on guests.” 5. Pay close attention to how and why we set appointments. Are we billboarding the right elements. Continue to work closely with each member of the morning show on their character and role definition. All our parts ready to seize the opportunity. 6. Don’t underestimate the new competition. Prepare relentlessly. Listeners won’t necessarily gravitate to our shows just because David Lee Roth pulled an all-nighter at Scores [expensive NYC lap dance club] and came in drunk and stupid again. 7. Many markets have conducted focus master and perceptual research to help strengthen the morning show in advance of Howard leaving. Contact me if you believe additional research can help. 8. Make noise. Howard is leaving. Most of our rock morning shows are executing creative promotions this fall. You should be planning your cut-through promotions for Q1 now. We can still be edgy, strong. 9. Encourage your local shows to be even more open to live reads and endorsements to exploit the sales opportunities. The David Lee Roth material on the street now is weak. You have the most to offer when it comes to selling the attributes of your morning show and station against Infinity. 10. Let’s commit to doing an even better job in sharing morning show ideas.