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Boost Your AQH! The Ratings Booster Can Help

May 30, 2013

Growing the size of your audience is the goal of every programmer. This requires you to maximize your audience throughout the day. To achieve this total week growth, a smart programmer must break down the broad week into smaller segments where they can impact listening.

One of the more sure-fire ways to boost the size of your audience is to analyze your listening by quarter-hour and compare it to that of your format group and competitors. Let’s look at a simple process to identify the program elements where you need to focus in order to boost your ratings.

When your AQH changes, there are a few reasons this happened: The listeners don’t like what they are hearing on your station so they switch away. Another content provider (typically a radio station) has set an appointment with your listener, stealing away those listeners. They switch their entertainment off entirely. For example, their work day ended and they left their office. No chance to listen until they get somewhere else where there is a radio.

It is crucial to understand why you are losing audience, and if it’s a pattern or a one-survey phenomenon.

The key to boosting your ratings is to look for repeatable patterns where certain quarter-hours are down for you while they are steady or up for your competition. Then you can focus on improving, moving, or eliminating that content.  By addressing and making a positive impact on individual quarter hours, total week audience growth will occur.

Let’s say you are running a lunch program from 12:00-1:00. How do you know if that is helping your station or hurting it? Look at your audience by quarter hour. Does it go up or down for the show? More importantly, are your format competitors going up or down at that time? And how about the format group as a whole? If the format’s total share of the audience goes down but your audience is flat or up, that means your programming is working in your favor. You also want to look for quarter-hours where the format’s total share is going up or is flat, but you are going down. Not just in one survey or month, but repeating over time.  Those quarter-hours are the real opportunities for improvement.

Once you’ve zeroed in on your quarter-hours that are underperforming the format group, you can look at the programming features during those quarter-hours to figure out why they are underperforming. Sometimes the content is good but it is happening at the wrong time for your audience. They aren’t available to hear it. If so then move it. Sometimes the content is good but the competitor has something better. If so, move it. Sometimes the content just doesn’t appeal to your audience. If so, eliminate it.

This exercise can also be helpful in setting your commercial clock. While you cannot eliminate commercial breaks, proper placement is vital. How are your listeners reacting when you are in commercial break, and how are they reacting when your competitors are in commercial break? You can now minimize the impact of your commercial breaks and take advantage of your competitor when they are in a break.

The point is you don’t need to guess which content is working and which is not. There are tools available for you to do these comparisons yourself. We’ve been successfully using our Ratings Booster service to help our clients quickly identify their opportunities for ratings growth. It’s got color coding and other visual features to make it easy to see where the ratings are over-performing and, more importantly, where they are underperforming.

For the station shown in this example, the red cells show that the format group loses audience at 6:00A, as does the station. This happened in the most recent month, the prior month, and an average of all the prior months, so it is a repeating pattern. The green cells show the format group rebounding at 6:45A, but the station doesn’t. That is an area that needs some focus.

Ratings Booster






We’d love to demonstrate it for you. Contact me at 410‑295‑6619 x11 or mgreenspan@ResearchDirectorInc.com. I look forward to hearing from you!

-Marc Greenspan, Partner