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Ask the Experts

Is there an easy way to boost my ratings? (Part 2)

July 12, 2012

As we discussed last time, you need to make sure you understand the fundamentals of AQH before devising a strategy to build ratings.  Two things impact your AQH: cume (how many people come to your radio station) and time spent listening (how long they listen).

Today’s post addresses the second component of AQH…

Time Spent Listening

(AKA average weekly time exposed for the PPM folks.)

In the simplest terms, good time spent listening is based on a single concept: giving the listeners what they want and expect from your radio station.  However, building time spent listening is as much art as it is science.

First, a quick lesson about time spent listening.  TSL is a function of occasions and durations.  Occasions are how many separate times that listeners come to the station.  Durations are how long they stay during each separate occasion.

The numbers show that it’s hard to significantly affect duration.  So let’s focus on building occasions. Answer these questions:

  • If they listen in morning drive, how do I get them to come back in afternoon drive?
  • If they listen on Monday, how do I get them to come back on Tuesday?

The answer: Give them specific reasons to come back to your station again and again.

The daypart with the largest cume gives you your best opportunity for recycling listeners into other dayparts.  Set appointments.  Tell them when to tune in, what you’ll be doing, and why they should care.  But be logical – if your morning show has a different vibe than the rest of your day, it will limit your ability to push those listeners into other dayparts.

Transitions between dayparts are also key.  You don’t want your morning drive listeners to turn off the radio at 10am and then have to get a whole other audience to tune in for middays.  The sales department invented dayparts – don’t let it segment your audience!  Your jocks should give listeners a compelling reason to stay tuned for the next show.

It is every PD’s goal to grow their AQH. Once you determine which component to focus on first – cume or TSL – build a reasonable plan and stick to it.

But always remember, Great Radio Wins.

-Anne Doyle, Programming Research Consultant