Recycling: It’s Not Just For Garbage

Posted on July 1, 2011


Many talent work harder than they need to.

The problem stems from the idea that listeners tune in at the start of your show and stick around for the entire time you are on the air intently listening to every clever thing that comes out of your mouth. 

In reality your audience churns constantly; people tune  in and out according to their schedules, not yours. 

It’s safe to say the same people who hear the first hour of your show are unlikely to hear the third hour.

The reality is that, on a day-to-day basis, people tend to listen in patterns.

Their alarm goes off at the same time each morning, they leave work around the same time each afternoon. People who leave work at 4pm are home by 5 o’clock weighing their dinner options while a whole new group of commuters are just buckling their seat belts to start their trek.

That means you can, and probably should, recycle your best material. It’s hard to come up with real A-level content, you should get some mileage out of it.

If the idea of recycling material in the same day’s show makes you queasy consider the findings from Coleman Insights’ analysis of PPM data from Rush Limbaugh’s audience.  

The study summary states, “A mere 27% of the audience listening in the first quarter-hour of his show is still listening in the show’s final quarter-hour. What this suggests is that the audience listening in the first and third hour is not the same.”

The report goes on to say, “In fact, retention for an entire hour averages only 46%, meaning that more than half of the audience listening to Rush’s show near the end of an hour do not hear what he has to say at the beginning of the hour.”

I guarantee that Limbaugh’s listeners are far more loyal than yours are and they aren’t sticking around.

So stop working harder than you have to and starting recycling. Here are two ways to approach the idea; vertically and horizontally.

Vertical refers to using a bit from early in the show a second time toward the end. Ask your program director to look up your daily Time Spent Listening. Once you know, on average, how long people listen you can figure out the minimum amount of time you should wait before reusing a bit.

Horizontal recycling is using material again the next day. The key to this is not running bits at the same time. If an interview originally aired at 8:30 am you should be more than safe to re-run it at 6:15 the next morning for a vastly different group of listeners.

Full disclosure: The inspiration for this post came from the fact that I will be taking next week off from writing new posts. I will be recycling some of my posts from several months ago when my readership was quite a bit smaller.

Just like you, there’s no reason I shouldn’t get more mileage out of my best material.

So I hope you have a great holiday weekend and I’ll be back with new posts on July 11.