Programming a successful radio station is both an art and science and requires attention to a variety of factors. This chapter begins a section that addresses some of the things you need to be considered in the Program Director’s quest to create a coherent station appeal and sense of stationality.
In addition to the quantitative data, there are several other research methods available to learn more about our audiences and service to them.
The new audience data has just become available, and you want to know how your station is doing – where should your analysis start? The following steps are a good way to begin looking at the big picture of listening to your station.
Stations can serve listeners more effectively by utilizing the many available audience research tools. This information provides the basis for understanding how listeners use your station and other stations in the market.
What aspect of your station’s sound can you influence the most? Other than any national programs your station chooses to air, on-air personnel have the greatest impact on the overall sound of your station.
Hiring and managing staff are some of the most important things a Program Director does. Overlooking this part of the job is a recipe for disaster. Bad hiring choices and underdeveloped management skills will very often result in the Program Director becoming the Ex-Program Director.
As a Program Director, one measure of success that is under your control is the number of core listeners in your audience. We know that programming causes audience – core listeners are those most attracted to the programming your station offers.
Audience data are important because they provide information about how many listeners we are serving, and how well we are serving them. Without this information, we would have a very limited understanding of how many people use our stations, when they listen, how long they listen, where they listen, how loyal they are, and many other important components of audience service.
It’s fundamental and important for every program director to remember – public radio provides service only when listening occurs. In short: Public Service = audience.