Making your radio station shine and deliver bigger audience's in today's world means more than having 'the 400 best songs from the 80s, 90s with 51 minutes of back to back music every hour.'
I can get that on my I pod, a billion Internet stations, and many other sources.
While traditional radio may offer it for 'free' (not counting the commercials) it's not enough to earn a P1 in today's media landscape.
We have to go out and actively ENTERTAIN the audience. All it takes is 3 basic ingredients to pull it off:
Ideas - They don't have to all be amazing - ground breaking - knock you off your feet ideas. But, you have to have a reasonable collection of on-air features, local events, audience participation vehicles, web attractions, and even sales tie ins.
Talent - A creative approach to the ideas. Sometimes that means the air staff executing it on air, other times it means producing it, and other times it comes from the creative juices in the promotion department. Brainstorm with your team every week and if you don't have a big team (maybe no team at all) collect some people from sales, production, or even the other stations in the cluster.Organization - Having a promotion calendar is a start, but it's just scratching the surface. You need a much bigger view than planning a Valentines Day Date night at a bar. You need to look at everything from the music to the TV shows to the web sites to the community and more. If it's on the audience's radar you need to take a look at how to team up with it and even if it isn't you may want to work with it and put it on their radar. There are also lots of sales tie in oppotrunites with lots of the events and ideas, but you have to give the sales team time to circulate the idea, make sure to have your calendar set up months in advance for the ideas that have sales potential.
We have a lot going on right now with elections on the way, winter weather in may cities, big football weekends/games ahead, spring hopefully on the way, TV shows, movies, and lots of music news/releases to get involved with right now. What are your plans for St. Pats Day, Cinco de Mayo, the first day of Spring?
If you don't have anything going on this week MAKE SOMETHING UP. Maybe it's Pet Picture Day where everyone posts pics of their pets, the coolest leather - where people post their leather jackets on your site - or maybe a Commando Friday (the hell with casual days - let's go Commando). None of these ideas takes money but all of them could be entertaining with a little production and air staff magic. Integrate your web site, use the audience on the phone, - give the listeners something to talk about and have some fun with.
Often when we work on the entertainment factor with stations the issue of limited staff and budget comes up, often putting out the fire. It needn't be that way - you can do a lot with a small team, a simple idea, and a little radio magic.
The key is filling you your dance card with lots of ideas and making every day or week special. Let's go out and have some fun and entertain. If you're just pressing F10 on Selector and thinking the station is fine. Quit worrying about what you don't have and work with what you DO have.