How to Balance Music and Information on a Music-Intensive station

Say you’re a music-intensive AC station. You’ve learned all about how PPM is unforgiving and listeners will flip as soon as they hear someone start talking. This, of course, is not true. People in focus groups and on research panels are quick to say they just want music from their music station. They understand that over-the-air radio is free, but comes at the price of listening to commercials. If you keep your spot load reasonable and your production level as high as possible most people are okay with it. If you’re hitting them with 18-20 units an hour and the 1-877-KarsForKids jingle is an hourly intrusion, it can easily come back to haunt you. Especially when the Pandoras and Spotifys of the world actually do play the most music.

But Commercials aside, what about information? That’s where over-the-air radio stations can turn listeners into fans. Just yesterday, I posted on a LinkedIn discussion about the best term to use for listeners in this day and age. My choice is Fan. In response to a comment about which is more important on a music station – music or info – here’s what I said:

To Thom’s question above…for a music station it’s both. You have to be playing the right songs and a lot of them, but the information, entertainment and personality are what turn a listener into a fan. Pandora doesn’t tell you if Rihanna is canceling her concert tonight due to laryngitis, or if we’re getting two feet of snow, or who’s not coming back on Downton Abbey, or if the Patriots re-signed Wes Welker or if we have a new Pope. The balance has to be just right.

Interestingly, my wife heard the answers to two of those questions just yesterday, without knowing what I had posted. She was listening to a music-intensive AC while at a hair salon and heard between songs that Wes Welker had signed with the Denver Broncos and that white smoke was seen coming from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel. True, the white smoke break sent to her to the TV as soon as she got home, but she found out listening to the radio.

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