Friday, February 21, 2014

Music Flow and TSL

Programmers seem to always be searching for more TSL from the audience.   Over the years we've developed the music sweeps, billboards, appointment listening, contesting, at work listening tactics, and placing the spot breaks in a variety of slots in the hour.

One area that stands out and is often not explored in the TSL dialog is the Music Flow.  Where are the best slots in the clocks to play the biggest hits, where is the most opportune time to intro new songs, what's the best place to 'stretch out' the playlist a little.   How should the flow move between the variance in tempo, music type/style, and era?  How do we balance the long term rotations over days and weeks against the mix in this quarter hour?

It's a very careful balancing act to keep all the 'music balls'  in the air and balanced.  Working with PDs and Music Directors on their music scheduling set up you see all kinds of approaches.   The real issues here is one of math.  In the end we are nearly always looking to have the most popular - biggest hits in whatever format we are working in on the air most of the time.  After all that's how you 'play the best music.'  We also need room to introduce new music, express an edge to the mix so we keep the super P1 fans engaged and we also need to make sure to cover the range of styles and tempos.

Then on top of all that we have to respect the long range rotation patterns.  We have to make sure that the songs are getting rotations that are in line with their importance.  Another concern is not playing songs in the same hours day after day.  Of course we also have to respect artists reputation - no one wants to just be playing the same artist we just played a half hour ago.

The more rules and restrictions we put on the songs the less they play.   If we had tons of titles in each category that all had a wide variety of styles and tempos along with a big selection of different artists it would be no problem.   But, for most formats we have to work with a much tighter system.

Some set ups end up with not a lot of rules and they try to 'make it up in the editing.'   Others just let it rip and hope that the log comes together hitting all the goals.  Finding the balance here takes careful analysis.  Some people can really edit a log and may do well with just a few rules.  Others may struggle trying to keep all the elements in balance and we see bad flows, weird rotation patterns, and other areas that can hurt your TSL due to the music flow.

Getting the music flow as balanced as possible takes a very careful and well thought out plan.   Before you head into spring make sure you've taken an objective look at your system and setup.  It could be more important as that big contest you're lobbying for.  

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Big THAW from Winter Apocalypse 2014 - Radio to the Rescue

Since before Christmas over half of the country, and probably 75% of the population, have suffered through the frozen cold and record snow storms.  One 'polar vortex' after another, freezing everything with record lows and dumping record snow falls on nearly everyone from the Rockies to the East Coast and as far south as Georgia.

It's been going on for week after week for the last month or more and it's frozen commerce, transportation, retail sales, and just about everything except snow blower and winter glove sales.

No doubt it's also frozen your local business scene.   Stores closed, no one shopping for cars, people venturing out only for the essentials - and business is down on the retail level a lot.   Look at this CNBC report on the impact from all the Winter we've experienced on the economy here.   They claim it's above 15 billion and it's just Valentines Day.

This Winter is truly causing an Economic Apocalypse and the business' you call on are not going to have the revenue they expected for 1st quarter.  In fact they'd just like the parking lot cleared and the consumers to be able to get out of their driveways to stop by.

Now keep in mind that the economy is not in a big slump.  For many households they are earning more and their economy is recovering at a stronger clip than we've had for the last 5+ years since the big recession of 2008 hit.  Jobs have returned, car sales were at a record pace before the Winter Mayhem, the housing market is recovering.  All signs were pointing to a healthy 1st quarter and your stock portfolio is probably looking pretty healthy.  The reality is that we have the money and the income but we can't get out of the driveway.

The good news is that in the next couple of weeks the temps are returning to more normal levels, Spring is only 5 weeks away and soon we'll be complaining about the heat.  This will pass.

The opportunity is that we've been in our CAVES for 8 weeks or more now.  Barely able to get out to get for Milk.  The pent up demand for this Spring has HUGE potential.   The timing is PERFECT for any business to pounce on the warming temps and snow melting and feed off this pent up demand.  The key question we have to ask our clients is - are you ready for the GOLD RUSH of 2014?   We happen to have a very strong audience and we can turn your message around quicker than anyone else and still reach the whole market.  Radio has THE STORY and THE ANSWER here.

Now is the time to put together your 'Good Bye Winter from Hell' package.   Create creative examples of sales campaigns your clients can tap into.   Put together effective packages with great coverage in key dayparts.  Get your advertisers all set to make the most of the avalanche of customers, revenue and business just ahead.   Maybe pass out some cheap sunglasses as you present the packages.

Just don't spend too much time brainstorming and get it out there before everything thaws.