Radio Stuff. Still posting comments about Country music but Music 1's taken over my working life now. As time allows, I'll be posting thoughts and ideas from my archives

How Many Commercials Are Too Many ?

Four in a single cluster is one too many. Now this is ancient research data on the subject, talking 1980’s, but I see no reason to believe the findings would have changed. The study has respondents listening to an hour of radio and later being questioned about the commercial content. One of the areas of inquiry sought to answer the question above. The report said three ads in a row was acceptable by all, not intrusive. When the cluster had four spots, a significant percentage said that was too many. With five spots, the majority said too many. With six spots, every respondent agreed that was too many commercials.

Considering that, I concluded the ideal the ideal music radio format plan should be: Two songs, three ads, two songs, three ads. The station’s commercial breaks would always be shorter than the average length of the songs in the library, even if all three spots were :60’s. Listeners would come to realize that when this station went into a commercial run, it wouldn’t be long before another song came, they would become conditioned to that and would be less likely to punch the button to another station when the first ad came on.

Now bear in mind, music radio program directors had long pondered this thing; where to put the spot breaks so as to gain some advantage over the competition. When the Top 40 Radio battles for market-share began to heat up in the 60s, the first thing done was the upstart station moved it’s newscast from the top of the hour to :55. Then when the competitor was going into his newscast, the upstart would be blasting a hit song whenever a listener punched the button to switch stations. Of course the upstart had to do news too, but by getting into the new first, at :55, if a listener punched away she’d hear no more than one and a half songs before that station hit launched their newscast and the button puncher would come right back. That was the theory, anyway.

Next came something fresh: Twenty-Twenty News. The two hourly newscasts were positioned at 20 past the hour and 20 before the hour. This allowed the station to be in a music sweep across both the top and the bottom of every hour when virtually every other station on the dial was in a newscast. Brilliant move, it was. Bill Drake and/or Ron Jacobs conceived the idea about 1965 or so.

Back to advertising content. Commercials are not a tune out. Too Many Commercials is a tune out and so is “ads I don’t like”. Now that second part, we can’t do much about. One spot that you think is informative and entertaining, I mind think is silly and irritating. And vice/versa. We can’t do much about “ads I don’t like.” But we can do something to lessen the negative effects that ads have in our programming flow. And the best way is to follow the research, so it would seem.

Now I related this information and my opinion about it far and wide in my most active consulting days of the 80s and 90s and nobody would try it. I mean, there was a time when I was the golden boy on the team, when some of my clients considered me to be indispensable to their ratings success. And even those guys wouldn’t go with my 2-3-2-3 formation. So you read this now and maybe it makes sense to you. Try it if you will and let me know how it goes for you.

Announcer Notes – May/June ’82

Disc jockeys have the mistaken impression that they are only in the entertainment business. They are also in the Information business. They move ideas from one place to another. Commercials are ideas. A song is essentially an idea. DJ success on the air has as much to do with how they are saying something asContinue Reading

Music Radio Is Like Farming. Music Radio Is Like Boat Building.

Programming a music radio station is like farming. You have to plant new seeds, nurture and grow them. For us, those seeds are the new records and promotions we play. Proper management of the commercials is akin to proper land management. We must regularly work the garden, turning the soil, weeding and rotating the crops.Continue Reading

Radio Without Ratings

Here’s an interesting article from the local paper in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Arbitron was out of the market for about a dozen years, no subscribers there. Now ARB has been swallowed up by Nielsen and the ratings are back in the city. The writer details how radio advertising has been sold without ‘numbers’. OneContinue Reading

Radio Pros: See This

This is the best thought-starter, the most useful think-piece about radio that I’ve seen in many years. If you are a radio pro, or want to be one, you should spend eight minutes watching this one : Share on Facebook

Country = The 80s & 90s Retread

As we moved into the 80s, we got some really smooth sounds on the radio. Grooves from Michael and the influence. Disco but not exactly. I’ve been listening to the new Jake Owen radio single “If He Ain’t Gonna Love You” and I’m thinking of Hall & Oates. And comes Thomas Rhett with “Star ofContinue Reading

Pop Music Radio Formatting

I got a question from the other side of the world; a club DJ who is now charged with being the program director of a music station in a developing country that’s never had a western style CHR/Pop/Top 40 formatted station before. FYI, here’s the email I responded with….a quick blue print of the basicContinue Reading

Radio Contesting

Some company named NuVooDoo Media did a survey about radio contesting. With an in-tab of 3500, it’s a sizable sample and should have good reliability. The take-way was over a third said they’d not go to a station to get a prize worth under a hundred bucks if they won. That’s nothing particularly new, anyContinue Reading

Music Scheduling Software Fails

What’s Wrong With Music Scheduling Software? Consider this: At the end of the 70’s, radio’s top program directors had developed rotation systems that ensured songs in each category got equal play; that Currents didn’t schedule in the same quarter-hour day after day; that all Oldies got play in all the dayparts, that ‘this’ type ofContinue Reading

Music 1, PlayoutONE and Classic Rock

From One Of Our Music 1 Users: Hey Steve … just thought I’d drop you a line and tell you that I took your advice and checked out PlayoutOne – loved it – and purchased it. It is great to be able to use Music 1 with it for the scheduling. I am broadcasting aContinue Reading