One of the biggest and most complex issues in dealing with the programming of a Country Music Radio station is the dynamics of the sound of the station. You can be too over the top and also too lazy river at the same time. How do you find the balance in presentation?
Presentation takes in account all of the bells and whistles of the sound dynamics. From the morning show to weekend talent, imaging, entertainment level, commercial production, audio processing, contests, promotions and general presentation levels.
Does a CMR station need a shot in the arm, no matter how well it performs? How do you present this to the higher court (managers, corporate)? It's not a secret, I like an over the top presentation, but that incurs so much more than the idea. When you move into a new position to improve the ratings and revenue of a Country Music Radio station, you need to ascertain how much coal the fire needs to burn brightly. Managers, unless they are really product keen, won't understand this and you most likely will have a problem with lagging air talent complaining, unless you get total sign-off from everyone involved and they know how to do it. Many stations have a lame sound, because that's all the air talent know.
Improving the sound of a station starts with pacing, not a fast pace, but a contemporary pacing that puts the station in competition with other formats. My inner-circle always felt, the more you sound like a Top-40, the better it plays with 25-44 women. I have always felt that Country Music Radio needs a fun, up-beat presentation that sweats entertainment and show-biz.
Summer is a good time to turn up the heat and test these ideas and the return of your Spring 2010 ratings will help you make that decision.