Programming

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Radio Regulation and Format Design

Radio stations can choose their own programming under Section 326 - Communications Act - gives broadcasters freedom from censorship. American Radio has ‘format freedom’

Task - provide attractive programming to meet informational and entertainment needs of audience

Matrix of Radio Programming

Local Programming - original programming produced by radio station

Prerecorded or Syndicated Programming - obtained from a commercial supplier outside the station

Network Programming - obtained from radio nets such as ABC, CBS or National Public Radio

Kinds of Radio Programming

Music - most popular form of radio programming

Prerecorded or syndicated: 9 out of 10 stations use music as programming backbone.

Network music programming has undergone a renaissance

News/Talk: Local shows includes news, sports, weather, traffic. Many popular talk personalities are syndicated via satellite

Modes of Radio Production

Local, live Production - station employs its own announcers and newscasters

Live-assist Production - station uses syndicated programming but retains local announcers

Semiautomation - station uses syndicated producer for majority of programming

Turnkey automation - station is fully automated

Voice tracking - computer automation makes it possible to program more than one station with same personnel

Creating the Radio Format

Format - the overall sound and image of the radio station. It includes station’s approach to talk, music, promotion, ads community relations, personalities, etc

Keys to successful format: To identify and serve a predetermined set of listeners, To serve those listeners better than the competition, To reward listeners both on and off the air, make them consistent customers for the products and services advertised on the station

Finding The “Format Hole”

Programming Strategies: Do a better job at a specific format than the competition and Develop a niche that will deliver a large enough audience to attract advertising revenue to the station

Internal Factors: Station ownership, dial location, power, technical facilities, management philosophy

External Factors: Geography, population characteristics

Listener Demographics

Radio has phenomenal reach: Reaches 250 million people each week

Just under half of all 12+ listen between 6 and 10 A.M.

Between 6 A.M. and 6 P.M. radio reaches more people than TV, cable, newspapers, magazines and online services

Demographic categories - age breakouts (e.g. 18-24, 18-34, 18-49)

Ideal Target Group - women, mid-30s

Listener Psychographics

Current research rage - measures qualitative research (values and lifestyles of listeners.) It attempts to understand: Attitudes, Beliefs, Leisure pursuits, Political interests

The Hot Clock

The “format wheel” - looks like the face of a clock and is used to plan and execute the station’s sound. It shows where music, commercials, news, occur within the program schedule

Three main types of information on hot clock: Commercial time positions, Promotional position, Programming, i.e, music and news/talk segments and Clutter - when too many commercials have been placed on the format. Most stations program between 8 and 18 minutes of commercials per hour.

Stations may use different clocks for different dayparts

Radio Programming Terminology

Spot sets - the commercial and promotional segments of the hot clock; Subcategories of musical segments; Current hits - given most airplay; Recurrent - recent hits still popular; Gold – oldies; Segue - overlap one program element with another; Sweep - musical set

Format Evaluation

Playlist - stations publish list of songs played on specific formats - used by major record labels to gauge what gets airplay

Tip Sheets - Billboard, Radio and Records

Call-ins - requests to station are logged in

Call-outs - ‘hooks’ are played over the phone

Auditorium...
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