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Radio Station Management
Transcript of Radio Station Management
A senior manager visited several small radio stations on a trip to the eastern United States. The most impressive thing, he said, was that all the staff at each station seemed to know all the essential facts about their company, "I asked the receptionist about their transmitter power, and she was able to tell me straightaway. I asked the engineer about the music policy and he could describe it in great detail, and a presenter told me how their rate-card was structured." In the twenty first century, top radio managers have a broad understanding of how the medium works, part statistician, part entertainer, part engineer, accountant, and salesperson, and a large part teacher. That is the art of radio management.
The most important thing you must possess at the helm of a Radio station is
Confidence In Your Brand
. As the man behind the wheel you can never allow critical processes to breakdown or be left unattended. A deep understanding of the workings of your station will allow you to expect the same from your staff.
Ensure the various department heads report to you with focused and concise reports that create a clear overview for you.
Report and be answerable to the Board of Directors, group management or a management committee for the day-to-day running of the organisation.
Take responsibility for other matters which straddle both programming and sales, such as station marketing and public relations, and be responsible for maintaining good relations with outside bodies, for example local authorities, major sponsors, industry bodies and regulators.
Most importantly the Man-At-The-Helm is responsible for the efficiency and morale of the whole team, for the development of an overall vision, brand values and corporate culture. Allocate tasks and spending according to the Holding company's priorities and an agreed local budget.
Modify the structure to make the most of the skills and talents available locally.
Develop and/or uphold existing core values: The relationship between the listening community and the radio station depends on common ground and a universal or collective social outlook. Your whole team must understand and operate by these underlying or CORE VALUES.
In a nutshell
the-(wo)man-at-the-helm (that’s you) must:
Sure Fire Ways To
Positive feedback from management
Positive feedback from co-workers
Constructive negative feedback from management
Constructive negative feedback from co- workers
Positive feedback from listeners
Good audience figures
Improving facilities and environment
Perceived "promotion" on the programme schedule
Rewards linked to success
Sure Fire Ways To
deMotivate Your Minions
Lack of feedback
Feeling that nobody in the station is listening to the show
Negative feedback from management
Negative feedback from co-workers
Little or no listener response
Poor audience figures
Poor or faulty facilities
Perceived lack of promotion or publicity for the show
Perceived "demotion" on the schedule
Success being penalised
"Now that we’ve covered that, who can you expect to find hidden in all the different departments you'll preside over"
This the department that controls what goes on air. But actually that’s not what this department does. This department has somehow managed to make itself the hub of all the station’s comings and goings, a department that finds it impossible to operate in a silo, a train station of a department - the gateway to all sales, promotional, news, advertising, entertainment and music content. The guy who runs this department is the second most stressed individual you may meet in your life.
South African Radio Legend, Anthony Duke recently shared these facts on bizcommunty.com >>
: A stress survey conducted in the ‘80s placed “Airline Pilot” as the most stressful job around
The second was “Radio Program Manager”. The main reason is due to the collective bunch of egomaniacs the Program Manager has to deal with, like the DJs and other creative types. He is sandwiched between this, an Executive and Sales who constantly pile on the financial pressure.
: There is no degree developed for Radio Management - no status quo to rely on, no manual or text book. There is no “look out for this obstacle” poster.
: Your ability to connect and empathise with and support your program manager is a tactic PARAMOUNT to the success of your station’s strategy. See Him, Hear Him, Understand Him. As a Program Manager you get to make all of the final decisions when it comes to what content is aired, what song are to be played, what news stories are included and more. You delegate these various responsibilities over to each radio DJ and producer in charge of their own shows, but the final decisions are ultimately yours.
A Few Key Things To Ensure Your Program Manager is on the right track:
Program Manager must dedicate non-negotiable time to presenters, producers and creative staff.
Program Manager must dedicate non-negotiable time to the Sales Department to identify key synergies (remember the 2 battles being intertwined? Sales/Content).
Program Manager must work together with Music closely on Programming Strategies.
You must exercise Patience in mentoring a Programming Manager as Trial and Error will be a large part of the process.
Things critical to a Program Manager’s Job:
HOURLY SHOW CLOCKS
/Prep/Quarter Hour Listener Maintenance/
Competitions/Seasonal Features/Presenter Style Guides/
NTR/AFP/Consumer Marketing Trends/Shopper Trends/Trade/Direct/Agency/
/Qualitative Research/Quantitative Research/Understanding RAMS/
Listener Profiles/Demographics and Psychographics/Implementation/Corrective measures/
/Set of programming values for defined programming culture /THE PROGRAM BUDGET/
Set up monitor & conform within yearly, quarterly and monthly strategic objectives IC Budget/Set up monitor & conform within yearly, quarterly and monthly strategic objectives/
/ICASA/Local content/BCCSA Code/Corporate ethics/Good Governance/
/Budgets/Monthly and Quarterly Reviews/Corporate Governance/Delegation/Policies & Procedures/
/Communications External and Internal
covers the “how much” and “where from” and “are there any” elements of the data: How many people listen to our station? Are there a lot of those people in this particular region? How many ride bicycles to work or watch soccer? This type of data can be gained through a variety of on and offline data capture processes.
Research is Critical To Great Programming There are two types you’ll hear a lot about:
Qualitative research tells you about what listeners enjoy and their perceptions. The music they want, the presenters they like, their content preferences and interests. A discussion group of 5 or 10 key target audience is just one way of generating Qualitative research data and the “quality” of the data generating process is vital as the name suggests. But remember that someone who is a target audience may not be an actual listener, and sometimes these are the most honest and valuable test subjects.
You’ll find music playing either a
role on your station. Either a show will be
and driven whereby the on air presenter’s role will be to link the songs or the music will
a more spoken content driven scenario - a topical chat show perhaps. In the latter case, the music may be used more creatively to support the on air topics and vibe.
Remember, one badly chosen song can cause a listener to tune out and the golden rule which is more like the industry norm than Gospel Truth is this: when a target listener tunes in, you better be playing something they want to hear.
To ensure you’re completely flabberghasted, here are just a few music categories to consider:
dult Contemporary (AC)/
dult Alternative (AA}/
lbum Oriented Rock (AOR)/
ew AC (NAC)/Smooth Jazz/
it Radio Religious/
it Radio Rhythmic/
Oh yes, and
one last thing about music
- the DJ’s don’t choose it. Ever.
has raised its head as the record labels demand more than their pound of flesh for rights. This is forcing radio stations to relook at the importance and the mix of their music programming with alternative value propositions and even a return to more talk focused programming on the strategic discussion table.
with both extremes lying in subjectivity your Core Values Sit in the Middle.
A principle is A fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior.
By knowing what this principle is you will be able to
A: Remain consistent in stormy conditions
(you know what you do in situations so emotion can be put to one side and core principles/values can take over).
B: Your staff will learn to rely on you to make consistent judgements and to find the true bearing in any situation.
c: By knowing and trusting your priNciple you will develop greater levels of integrity as a leader.
What type of manager do you want to be?
In my years I’ve met two types of key managers that form opposite ends of the spectrum.
Will you sit at one extreme of find your place in the middle. It’s really important to think about this so that you can form your managerial principle.
Welcome to the Music department - the place where everybody is an expert, even if they don’t work here.
There isn’t a more contentious and opinionated subject in radio. If programming is a converged train station of operational traffic then music is the den of opposing forces. For starters, it’s music. I mean come on people - is there anything more subjective on the face of the planet? Music is an extreme of creativity and soul yet to function properly in a professional environment all that feeling and emotion must be boxed into a consistent station image and sound.
It must be squeezed into a policy which is why that policy’s integrity is so vital.
If the sales manager is good they’ll never stop crunching the numbers; always looking for new stories to tell to potential clients, new ways to spin the data, news ways to do the one thing that will get spend from a client >
. By offering advertisers this element the sales manager will place you in a space where you offer what no one else does.
YOU CAN DIFFERENTIATE IN A NUMBER OF WAYS >
1. Price >
This is always the first place one goes to compete. To look back at something we covered in the first session: “strategically an organisation should first decide whether or not its market position allowed it to be the cost leader (ie that it can be the lowest cost producer for the industry) - if it could not then it should instead ensure that its product is differentiated from its competitors and so aim at charging a premium for these different products.”
YOU CAN DIFFERENTIATE IN A NUMBER OF WAYS >
2. CREATIVITY AND/OR CONTENT >
There are two layers to this angle of sales. Layer A says we must be creative in our suggestions and proposals for on air advertising, activations and programming. Can we make a bespoke campaign on any number of levels for a client? Can we create hybrid programming options? Can we offer them creativity based on our in depth knowledge of radio that agencies can’t? Layer B says we must be equally creative in the content we produce to sell our inventory and ideas. Why? Because the more powerful and innovative our tools and presentation, the less we have to worry about the human element (stressed, tired and inexperienced sales people) potentially hampering the sale.
3. KNOWLEDGE >
The more we know about our target market the greater opportunity we have to line up our listeners with right brands. We can go to brands with confidence that we tick all the boxes they are looking at. Remember, it is very seldom that we will get a brand to spend outside of their allocated annual radio budget. By knowing their annual radio budgets and the allocations for the region we can target that spend more effectively. But if we becoming powerful in other areas, like the web, we can start to target digital spends as well. We must always remember that we must give a client first what they want, before we try and tell them what we think they need. Deep knowledge about both brand and target audience will ensure that we serve both sides with aplomb.
Hands On Extreme >>
This is a manager who wants to be so involved that he begins to do his other manager’s jobs for them. While attention to detail is good, when this extreme nature starts to happen it forbids your managers form carrying out the strategy as they understand it and enslaves them into a model that can only be called strangulation of expression.
Hands off Extreme >>
The other side is characterised by a manager who is so detached that getting any sort of buy in or go forward becomes hard. Often this style of management will see the person at top making rash decisions on key elements without any context. They make desicions that can damage process and like an absent parent quickly lose the support of their staff.
The axis of objectivity
based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions
Not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts