The idea is to set appointments with the audience to listen at key times. 'Tune in at 9a - 2p - 5p' to enter the contest or for some other event. Really this is recycling in many ways but the theory and 'science' behind it is different.
Most of the TSL tactics we used were to try and extend the current listener. Get them to listen through the stop set or just give us another 3 or 4 minutes, or maybe another quarter hour. Stretch what you have.
Here the idea is 'worry more about getting them to come back.' Again the practice here has roots in breaking down Arbitron data. If your average listener averages 15 minutes with your station in their tuning occasions - if you can increase the number of times they punch in to your station your TSL will grow a lot more than fighting to hold them for another 5 minutes.
Another key in this tactic is to come right out and promote the times and make the appointment. This throws out the thought of 'listen all day - you never know when we will give away the big prize' Here you come right out and admit - listen at 1:10 to win.
This idea does work if you have a good enough 'hook' to set the appointment with. A lot of the focus here has been with contesting. Now that we have PPM data you can see this tactic working on many stations. There are clear spikes around contests with appointment listening. In the diary world you can also find data that shows success in building more TSL with appointments. There are also stations that use this tactic all the time and have little to show for it. The key is having good content and contests to make sure the audience will keep that appointment you tried to make.
Next week we'll start to look at the PPM era tactics of TSL. Thanks for spreading the word on this series - we've seen a lot more activity on the blog. While TSL has always been important to programmers to build winning brands and stations it's becoming a crucial tool as we approach the digital and mobile world ahead. Suddenly we have a lot of new competition for the audience's time and ears. Keeping the entertainment and attention on our brands will be key and keeping up the usage and TSL will have to be a top top priority.