Format, Format, Who’s Got The Format?

by POPSIE 1956

It’s all about the art of the sell.

Doesn’t matter if the product is good or not, but if people are talking about your product, good or bad, mission accomplished.

That’s what happened today in Upstate New York.

A radio competitor changed their format today, well, not really changed their format, but, stopped playing their old format.


A variety of reasons, mostly because, and just guessing on this one in particular but it’s usually the case, (A) they had lousy ratings; (B) they had lousy revenue; (C) they needed to make budget cuts, or (D) all of the above.

It kinda sucks when a station that this happens to might be one that YOU like to listen to.

And radio is no different than your favorite television show, it’s all about the greenbacks.

For the record, I don’t particularly like it when it happens to a TV show I like, or a radio station I like (especially if the radio station I like is the one I am employed on).

But, as they say, change is inevitable.

Without naming names or format, this station, all of a sudden, presented itself as a radio station playing Christmas music, nothing BUT Christmas music, ALL THE TIME, as in from here to eternity.

They presented some announcement about research shows people want this all the time, etc. etc. etc.

Sorry, but I smell bulls*it Maynard.

To those NOT in the business, more than likely this is what we in the Broadcast industry call “stunting.”

As in Publicity Stunt.

Nine times out of ten, these “changes” occur out of nowhere in the middle of the night, and are known to a select few.

Which format to pick?

Depends on what you want to accomplish;

Is it to fill a hole in the market?

In 2015, that’s a tough one to do, unless you live in Stumphole, Idaho (which I’m told is a lovely community), odds are you have your radio needs already met (or you can have them met online…, professional heartless and shameless plug to justify my continued employment).

Is it to help another station in your cluster?

For example, if a competitor in my market has a Country station at the Number 1 station in my market, I may want my OWN Country station; not to BEAT the ratings leader, you see, but maybe to shave a ratings point or two off their lead, which in turn might help my Hot AC or Top 40 station, ratings wise AND revenue wise.

(Careful Mike, you’re touching some nerves there.)

Which all leads back to the stunting…or changing…or…doing something different..on that competitor.

I find it very odd how many people, INCLUDING some IN my business, seem shocked, SHOCKED, that a station will be formatted with nothing but Christmas music 24/7/365 till the end of time..or the next ratings book..or budget report.

Come ON people, we in this business know better.

That being said, I admire what I have heard, and heard ABOUT, so far.

The Spring Ratings Book (or survey taking time, like the Sweeps Months for TV), the guide to bragging status and revenue potential, starts March 26th.

Three weeks.

In those three weeks, I predict, if this “new format” had legs, one would see billboards, TV advertising, print etc, to get people to tune in.

Until then…