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Making Radio Remarkable – Part 2

A No-Nonsense Marketing Smart Tip June 9, 2004

Last week I presented Part 1 of John Moore’s thoughts on Making Radio Remarkable. John is a former corporate marketer for Starbucks and current director of national marketing for Whole Foods Market, the world’s largest natural and organic supermarket. John is also the co-author of the marketing weblog BrandAutopsy. Here are more of John’s ways that your station can make itself remarkable.

1. Fight the Tired and Trite

“The tried and true have become tired and trite. For example, why do stations endlessly repeat monikers like KISS 106, B 93, and Magic 95? I know these are mnemonic devices for listeners with Arbitron diaries. But if you are going to repeat your station ID hundreds of times a day, shouldn’t it personify the essence of what makes your station remarkable and not be used merely as a gimmicky mnemonic tool? After all, what does KISS, B, or Magic mean anyway? Second, why do stations recycle tired and trite phrases like, ‘All Hit. All New.’? This line has been used so often that it carries little or no meaning. The same goes for trite features like, ‘Smash it or Trash it’ or ‘Top Five at Five’. Relying on such stale programming ideas will only make it more difficult to become uncommonly good.”

“All of the above are ‘best practices’ that have been shared from station to station for decades. Sharing ‘best practices’ is great, but when a best practice becomes tired and trite it becomes a ‘worst practice.’ Radio stations need to reduce ‘worst practices.'”

2. Have a Reason for Being

“Because the radio dial is crowded, it is imperative that a station has a clearly defined and articulated reason for being. To define this, a station needs to answer two questions: 1. What makes this station special (i.e. remarkable)? 2. Why should a listener care?”

“Once a station has defined its reason for being it has defined its brand. With its brand defined, the station needs to articulate their reason for being in everything they do. All employees must become the marketing department. Every decision must be based on an understanding and appreciation of the station’s brand. And why should listeners care? The answer must be genuine and be truly relevant to the listener. Listeners today are far too savvy and can quickly see through bogus and patronizing answers.”

3. Challenge Your Promotions Department

“To succeed as a promotions-driven radio station, I believe the advertiser’s objective must become the station’s objective. For example, if a car dealership’s goal is to sell 40 new cars during a three-week promotional flight, then the station’s objective is to do everything within its promotional power to help the dealership meet or exceed that goal. Ultimately, I believe advertisers buy results more than ratings. Here’s an idea: When giving away concert tickets, don’t ask listeners to be the 9th caller to win. Instead, I would drive traffic to a local advertiser’s business and have the lucky listener(s) pick up their free tickets there – at the retailer. For call-in remotes, I’d insist on crystal clear sound (not the typical static-heavy sound other stations find acceptable) and my station would always send a recognizable on-air personality (never an intern).”

“For local and regional advertisers who lack the financial resources to create great radio creative, we would design dynamic on-air station-driven promotional campaigns that will generate results far better than a cheaply produced radio spot.”

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