Today's (2/10) CRS sessions ranged in topics from coaching to promotions to understanding your listener's language.
The "Promotions Start to Finish" was a fast moving, interactive session where various promo pros were given various situations and asked to build the promotion given the parameters (randomly picked out of a bucket!). One situation involved giving away two CMA Award Show tickets and having a budget of $500 while another promoting a major concert with no budget.
Some of the takeaways included getting partners on board as much as possible so that you don't try to carry the entire load. Getting your sales department involved is always helpful and having potential sponsors in your back pocket can be a life saver. Doing pre-planning with these potential sponsors and knowing what advertisers are currently promoting is also helpful in those tight deadline/low budget promotions.
Everything from a tail gate party to renting an RV and having a private concert inside the RV for a VIP experience were mentioned. Renaming the radio station the day of the event (with the artist's name) is essential. If you are going to have a pre or post event at the venue, pay particular attention to location. If your competition is there, make sure you're more front and center (close to the entrance gates).
If you don't have a budget for a particular concert, get the second or third act (especially if they're local) on the air or in the studio for a day or two before the event. Have some signed memorabilia to give away, try to tie into the community or charity or get free publicity via newspaper or TV through fun stunts or events. This also gives talent content to talk about on air. Always remember to use digital as it is typically inexpensive. If you have a station app, use that to your full advantage.
Cash is king. Although you may not always be able to swing it, to give cash away is a big plus. If not, get sponsors on board for things like travel expenses
Be mindful of having a relationship with your local ABC TV affiliate so that you can work with them to make the Country award shows have more of an impact in your market. If you have not established one, make that phone call now!
In the "Listeners Are You Speaking Their Language" session Beverlee Branigan and Brian Thomas compared what PD and consumers thought of the content between the songs--audio, slogans, promotions, imaging, jocks, breaks, etc.
The information was gathered from 1174 Country P1s 21-49. The information was rated on whether the breaks between songs were informational, entertaining and whether listeners would tune out.
Differences between the PDs and listeners were sometimes subtle but other times great.
The panel thought that overall, we are in a very Twitter oriented society and listeners' attention span is approx. 7-8 seconds. It was also mentioned that sometimes we may be losing listeners due to the effects we use in breaks. Women, in particular, have too much chaos in their lives and these over processed, loud bits may cause more irritations than not. It is also hard to concentrate or focus on what the message is.
When it comes to information (weather, traffic, etc) done between the songs listeners are listening carefully. Weather and traffic have a major impact on our listeners' lives. It was concluded that information is under utilized and frequently in the car we are our listeners only source for important information. They expect it from radio and we need to deliver. We need people to feel safe...thanks to the car radio.
When doing promos, that the listener benefit needs to be mentioned first. What is in it for them?
Artists' voices and endorsements rate highly with listeners. It is as if they are endorsing our station and when we transition into a song from the artist after the break, even better.
In the session "From the Outside Looking In, Other Formats Give Their Take On Country" various programmers from other formats talked with R.J. Curtis about the differences between their formats and Country. Those on the panel included Troy Hanson, Corporate PD/Rock Format Cumulus; Doc Winter, Sr. VP of Urban Programming, iHeartMedia; Gillette, PD WPLJ, NY and John Ivey, Sr. VPof Progamming CHR Brand Manager, iHeartMedia;
Dependent upon their market, Country typically shares audience with Hot AC/AC and shares the commonality with the Urban format as our listeners are both passionate about the music and live the lifestyle. We also have cross over artists. Both AC and Country share the lament about the "no mans land" for records where songs are not moving up or down and programmers are not sure what to do with them. The conclusion was that other songs will bump them out or programmers will be forced to decide dependent upon the competition from other songs coming up.
Discussions about rotations, relationships between labels, artist and radio were all discussed. The Country format was envied by other formats for their label/artist/radio relationships. Spin count needs to be higher if targetting a younger demo and John Ivey emphasized the importance of constantly working on your music (he works on it daily...if not hourly) and taking a chance on what you hear as a hit, if it will mesh with your station overall--whether it will or will not stereotypically fit your format. Ivey also talked about moving songs down and up in your rotation categories..."there are no rules... only those programmers put on themselves." Sound was also discussed and the need to balance your station. If you don't have enough of something or too much of something else...go look for something to balance it with something you feel is a hit musically (even it doesn't fit into your pre-conceived notion of what should be on your station).
Establishing one-on-one relationships between radio and artists (without labels/publicists) and encouraging them to contact you etc., will serve you well. They will remember that you were there and cared about them when they were coming up.
When asked what Country radio should do in the next year or so the suggestion was made that Country get back into the "Taylor business".
"That's expensive real estate and you're just going to let it go?"
Registrants were also treated to a fabulous lunch hosted by BMLG featuring Jennifer Nettles, Justin Moore, Drake White, Tara Thompson and Tucker Beathard.
Tim McGraw drew the sessions of CRS 2016 to a close when he talked with R.J. Curtis and Beverlee Brannigan about his insights about his career.