Great program directors know that to create well attuned, effective radio that listeners and advertisers respond to, that research is key.
Unfortunately many producers fail to see the inherent value in extensive research and don’t allocate a significant enough percentage of the budget to make the most of a good research plan.
Here’s how lack of research can become a big problem.
- Many smaller stations will simply monitor the playlists and scheduling of larger stations, assuming that they probably have the budget to carry out extensive research. While this is mostly true it is dicey to balance their own stations image on research they’ve ever seen, what if the research was carried out shoddily? Or interpreted incorrectly? Or what if the larger station never carried out research at all?
Another reason simply copying top stations doesn’t work is that so many smaller stations have the same idea, and then the airwaves are awash with cookie cutter sound. Usually the copiers are not able to achieve the same success as the original station, unsurprising when they have no idea of the policies or market the original station is working to.
- Some stations will spend up on research during periods of low listenership only to let it go by the wayside when ratings are strong. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how counter intuitive this is, when constant research can help prevent a backslide. A little maintenance to hold a listeners attention is easier to achieve than trying to scrape together ratings from the bottom of the pile.
- In this same way a little research can help a station figure out the lifespan of a song and axe it before it becomes burnt out. Your initial research may indicate that a particular song should be played on high rotation, but you need more information further down the track to track the exact moment needed to decrease its rotation to stay fresh.
This just a few of the problems good individual stationresearch can help with. If you are trying to get your producer to agree to a larger budget then feel free to show them this article, and if you are lucky enough to be in control of the purse strings, loosen them up and recognize the value of a comprehensive research program!