There are many great lessons that dairy markets can learn from PPM markets that measure actual listening versus perceived (diary) listening. With that in mind, please consider these key points that if implemented properly, could be the key to higher ratings this spring.
Music in the morning counts. There are only a handful of personalities who can do content that is better than an extra song. For many years, we believed that "bits" in the morning were more important than music. PPM has quickly taught us that this is not the case. If you are a music station, make sure you are playing at least 8-10 songs an hour in the morning.
8am-4pm is the "sweet spot" for Adult driven stations. In PPM markets if you do not get the major share of listening here, you will not get it. This means that your morning show should be winding down non-music elements at 8am as you get into a more music mode.
TSL is all about adding "occasions of listening". Sure song to song is important, but not nearly as critical as increasing occasions of listening. This has always been the case (in diary markets) but we see it more so in PPM markets. How do you increase occasions? Read the next few points.
Tactical contesting is back and not surprising "Cash is King"! In most PPM markets, cash is proving to be a very strong tactic for increasing occasions. If it works with PPM, why wouldn't it with diary based markets? Craft your contesting to be a fun experience for the listener.
Companionship. A big reason for listening. No surprise here. This is where your talent comes in. You don't need comedians or clowns. Just "Companions" who are pleasant and enjoyable to listen to. But....
Too much DJ banter is a tune out. Yes, DJ's are important, need to be warm, friendly and fun sounding, but on a music station, listeners are coming for the music, so keep the DJ's very tight, to the point, and fun sounding.
As a focus group panelist once told me. “We like DJ’s, but tell them not to talk too much.”
Get back to the music as soon as possible. Once the stop set is over, get back to the music quickly and always make sure it's one of your more important songs/categories of music.
Listener availability is not always there 7-12 midnight. Many PPM market AC's are struggling with this, as they were used to huge night numbers in diary. PPM is showing us that AC listeners just don't listen 7-12. Take advantage of that in diary markets.
Yes, there are some differences between PPM and diary measurement but there is a lot to be learned from a system that measures actual listening and behavior. PPM illustrates that listeners want a music heavy radio station that does not interrupt too much. When it comes to non-music elements, use moderation. Jocks, yes, but keep their companionship level high. Contesting, yes, but make sure you are offering something that creates a fun feeling. Information yes, but keep it short & to the point.