Monday, July 26, 2010

Community - Communications

Wow did you know you can't spell Community without Communications? - Not really, but it sounded good. KUPL Portland painted over the graffiti in Portland this past weekend, We need more weekend promotions like this instead of driving past radio stations on a Saturday morning and the parking lot is empty, the lights are not on and nobody's home. In Fresno, all of the vans and vehicles are in the parking lot and no personal vehicles anywhere. How can we get out and bond with audience and build the community operating like this?

We used to look forward to Saturdays back in the day, March of Dimes walks, station promotions, civic pride promotions and more. Until the FCC requires and mandates radio stations to serve the public interest again instead of the lip-service quarterly reports they file with lawyers that mean nothing. The automated/voice-tracked stations read recorded PSA's and count these as community and public service. The last reports I did, they counted interviews with clients towards the quarterly issues report. They were more concerned about how the reports looked than actually serving the community with real people organizational events. 

Building  the community is easy...We use to do it all the time. The community events become station promotions and we actually attend them and talk about them on the air. They have sales connections too. I thought this was pretty comprehensive in a blog from

Anyone active in promotion or public affairs can point to one viable answer to those questions: localism. We're carving out station identities, community involvement positions, new revenue sources from whence we're most familiar: the markets we serve.

We recognize that we have to do things differently. We have to look for new sources of revenue, work smarter and leaner, market our stations more creatively and aggressively.

The more we travel this road, the more often promotion and public affairs and sales converge. And news isn't an island anymore either. Total station projects--which tie the efforts of news, programming, public affairs, sales and promotion around a single theme or topic--don't serve just one master. If projects don't address two or more station objectives, they usually don't last very long. Or receive much airtime or other station resources.

Steps to Success

  • 1. Top management support
    It is critical that the general manager communicate his/her commitment and expectations of a project's success.
  • 2. Designated project coordinator
    Each participating department must buy into the project and be held accountable for its components. But there must be one individual charged with the responsibility to monitor the overall continuity, multiple deadlines, and various details that may fall between departmental boundaries.
  • 3. A plan
    What are you going to do? When and how will it be done? What do you hope to accomplish? What are each department's objectives?
  • 4. Constant communication
    Nothing dooms a project quicker than neglect. And the assumption that everyone perceives the project in the same way and will follow through as planned is folly. One of the tenants broadcasters share with jugglers is keeping a number of things up in the air at the same time. If you keep your eye on only one pin' you may very well drop another. Somebody's got to watch the entire act.
  • 5. Intradepartment cooperation
    The cultivation of the notion that all departments are equal and necessary to the team's success is critical.
  • 6. Follow through
    The full impact of a total station effort, whether it is a single campaign or a year-long marketing campaign addressed to viewers and clients alike, is dependent on clear, concise messages speaking to the target audience. Details that support and reinforce the main message. Consistency, consistency, consistency, in method and message.
  • 7. Flexibility
    The same things won't work for every market or every situation, and you have to be prepared to drop back and punt.
  • 8. Risk 
    Mistakes are inevitable. But how else do you learn where a new solution might be?
  • 9. Ability to learn
    The path to successful innovation is neither clear nor easy. Don't let a few wrong moves paralyze your ability to venture into new territory and resist overcorrecting by becoming overly cautious.
  • 10. Commitment to new ideas
    You can't learn to do anything new, or an old thing in a new way, if you're certain you know "it can't be done" or "it won't work".

Country Music Radio will have a competitive edge by maintaining and executing high standard community events and promotions. 

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