Here Comes Summer

Greg Diamond – ByrnesMedia

Ah Summer! Time to get out and do all the things you were looking forward to over the
previous long, cold months. Camping, relaxing on a patio, hitting the beach, catching a
ball game, and getting in a round of golf  (or if you play like me, ‘landscaping’). So much to do… so little time… but don’t forget about your radio station.

It’s still a safe bet to say that summer listening habits are different from other times of the year, but they’re not as distinctive as was once believed and that appears to be lessening even further. The continually rising price of gas and the lingering effects of the recession have altered people’s vacation plans. A BMO study on summer spending showed that 43% of those surveyed indicated they were looking to spend their holidays close to home – the so-called “staycation”. That’s just one example why we need to start viewing summer for what it really is – a great opportunity for radio.

Holidays are always a catch-22 and potential headache. Your jocks need and deserve the time off, but at the same time you don’t want to leave yourself too short-handed. Try to space them as evenly as possible over the summer months to avoid an abundance of voicetracking in the more important dayparts, as well as too many 6 hour shifts during weekdays. In the PPM world, specific vacation windows are less prevalent given ongoing measurement, but for you in the diary world, ensure your team is all back at least a week before Labour Day.

A promotional umbrella for summer is always a great way to further your brand. The “101 Days of Summer” et al, are perfect catchalls to give all your promotional activity a summer theme. Concert presents, backyard barbeques, sports events, etc. can all fall under your umbrella with a simple tag (e.g. “Join us for such and such band at whatever local bar… All part of the 101 Days of Summer on CXXX-FM.”)

Summer is also a good time to tackle some of those projects that you may have been putting off such as refreshing your imaging. It’s possible that the pressure will be a little lower on your Production Department, so take advantage of the opportunity and have new imaging ready for fall.

Give you music software an overhaul and look for ways to improve it. By running an audit, you can quickly find areas where fine tuning will create a more efficient database and speed up the day to day scheduling process.

Really dig into your music lists and look at ways to change things up so when summer is over and most stations go back into ratings the station will sound fresh.

Think about how you can relate to those listeners who are staying closer to home. Consider adding a feature to your station to give these people ideas of what to do locally. Your sales department might appreciate the sponsorship opportunity.

As a PD don’t be afraid to step back into the control room and do some shifts. You will be surprised how much you learn about your radio station and the way it operates if you drive the board for a few days. You may find some opportunities to fine tune the clocks

Summer is a season to grow your share in PPM markets or build momentum heading into fall for diary markets. Don’t take your eye off the ball… like I do when golfing.