PPM Five Years Later and What You Can Do About It

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The first panel at this weekend’s Morning Show Boot Camp in Miami focused on PPM Five Years Later. Arbitron Director of Programming Services Jon Miller studied the 25 most successful morning shows in the U.S. and revealed the findings on a panel with CBS SVP of Programming Greg Strassell, RLC SVP Angela Perelli and syndicated morning show personality Bobby Bones.

Here is what you need to know:

1. The best shows are not successful because their fans listen LONGER (in duration). They have fans that COME BACK MORE OFTEN (more occasions).

What to do about it:

A: Step back and ask if your show is compelling enough to make listeners feel like they will miss something if they don’t tune in. Are you memorable or are you happy talk?

B. From an execution standpoint, be disciplined about teasing and teasing what’s next (within 15 minutes) rather than what’s coming up later (unless it’s killer).

2. Even your biggest fans only listen to you (on average) two days a week. You may think your listener has a regular morning schedule and listens to you at the same time every day, Monday through Friday. Your thought is a fantasy.

What to do about it: Repeat your best material. You’re not slacking. You’re exposing your strongest content to the 90% of your cume that missed it the first time. This is especially important for the most topical, timely content.
3. There is no magic music-to-talk blueprint for succeeding in PPM. However, two-thirds of the most successful shows talk more than 30 minutes per hour.

What to do about it: When the show starts outperforming the station, consider that their P1s are not necessarily format P1s. Reduce the song count over time. If you are on a new station, or you have a new competitor, or if you underperform the station as a whole, music is your friend.

4. The biggest hour for morning drive is still 7am.
What to do about it: Call me Captain Obvious: Put your best material at the time when you have the most listeners. Arbitron can tell you when the most meters are on in your market (typically around 7:40).

5. Don’t forget about branding. Branding is still important in PPM. If you have a 4 share, 3 shares is your position in the listener’s mind and 1 share is execution.

What to do about it: Figure out if you have a strong brand by asking these questions:

  • What do listeners think you’re known for?
  • Do you have a leadership position in the minds of the listeners?
  • Do listeners understand who the show is for?
  • Does the station solve a problem for the listener. (e.g., providing information, entertainment or a mood service)

If every person involved in the show (from the PD to the interns) doesn’t know the answers, or if you have conflicting answers, you have work to do on your brand.

by Angela Perelli


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