Good Insights from Coleman Insights

Posted on April 4, 2011


The team at Coleman Insights recently released a list of 10 suggestions for programmers moving  from a diary market to one with PPM. Since imitation is the most sincere form of flattery and larceny is the most sincere form of imitation, I’ve stolen four that are just as applicable to any airtalent trying to build their show. 

  1. Root all of your thinking first and foremost in the strategy of the station. Don’t program with a PPM mindset; program with the mindset of developing a brand by exploiting an available market position. Your goal should be to develop a strong brand and to make the station entertaining and focused.

Take out program and replace it with perform and you have some pretty solid advice. You need to understand the strategy of the station. If you don’t, talk with your program director and see what his or her vision for the station is and how they see you fitting into it.

Keeping those goals in mind consider your show and the role you play as part of the airstaff. Are you the musicologist? The wild and wacky one? The smart one? Understanding that role comes before developing content regardless of whether you are in a PPM or diary market.

2. Regularly do a complete brand and content audit of the station. Every few months stay at home or in a hotel and listen to and quantify all the verbal and nonverbal content on your station.

 This goes back to my recent post, Get to Know You. You should regularly listen to tape of your show and evaluate all of your content.

3. Rate all the content on the station on a one-to-ten brand scale and a one-to-ten execution scale. The brand scale means how each element on the station fits or resonates with the brand essence of the station. Does it fit with the images you want to project? Do the same with the in-the-moment execution. Is it entertaining? Tight? Would a listener stay tuned in that moment? Rate everything on a one-to-ten scale. Eliminate or tighten anything that is low on both “brand values” and “in-the-moment entertainment.”

 This can help you take the emotional response out of listening to your own show. If something doesn’t score very highly, don’t beat yourself up. That’s why you review; so you can improve.

 4. Understand the ins and outs of PPM ratings, including the fact that PPM—like diary measurement—is research and is not immune to statistical wobble.

Every airtalent hates math and ratings are definitely math. But this math affects your earning potential so you had best learn about it. Diary or PPM market, ask your program director to teach you how the ratings work and how to read the numbers. If he/she seems uncomfortable, suggest having the station’s Arbitron representative come in and teach a ratings class to the airstaff. If that fails there are resources on Arbitron’s Web site.

Or you can always hire a wizened old mechanic to teach you the basics.