Thursday, March 6, 2014

Giving Talent The Time To Gain Audience

As a consultant we often run into situations where new talent is brought into the station.  Often the rush is on to get the new personality in place, usually just a month or maybe even days before a big Fall or Spring book. The Personalities and the PD work hard trying to help the talent get into the market, understand the station's target, find ways to engage the audience, and lots of time in critique sessions.

Of course the results from the book hit 5-6 months later and instantly everyone expects to see the big turnaround in the daypart, and maybe the whole station.  'Surely the audience should be jumping and we should see the results right now.'  

You have to keep in mind that it takes patience and persistence, as well as a great job with the show to make an impact.   The audience also has to find out about the show, get used to it, start to catch a buzz in the market from it, and they also have to get comfortable enough with the show to welcome it into their bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and their car.  This doesn't happen the minute you sign on a new Morning Team or bring in a new afternoon jock.

Also consider that the people that fill out diaries and respond to the ratings are not all likely to be the Early Adapters in the market that are first to find out about new trends, products and entertainment.  In today's world with much of the sample gathering going on with telephones and in the mail they are probably more likely to be the Late Adapters or even the 'last to realize anything' Laggards.  It's very likely that these groups can take 10 - 20 months to even realize the change and longer to adapt to it.

Yes this may sound like common sense to you, but how many times have we seen talent bounce around and finally settle in where they get a chance to build an audience and they take off.  Even if the show isn't taken off after a weak initial book there is often a complete overhaul or lots of concern, pressure and doubt about it.

It takes time to build a winner.   Take an example from the classic hit film Caddy Shack.  The recent sad passing of Harold Ramis reminded all of us of his comic film making legacy.   But consider the start for his first director's role with Caddy Shack.  The film came out in June 1980 with only around 2 stars from the critics and only hit 3 million in it's opening weeks.  The film struggled over that summer for an audience so much so that one of the key writers Doug Kenney got so depressed that he committed suicide in Hawaii.  Of course Caddy Shack went on to gross over 40 million - not bad as the film cost only 6 million to make.

Be patient and realize it takes while for talent to rise to the top.   

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