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Buzz Knight

What Can Radio Learn From TV?


With the beginning of a new era of audience measurement after the Nielsen Audio purchase of Arbitron, it's instructive to study some elements of television to decipher what radio can learn from the television business.

Some of these observations may have no direct bearing on TV ratings success but are worth your consideration. I'm quite certain that television has invested lots of their own research to help determine some of these important tactics.

1) Television has had a head start in understanding audience behavior while
maximizing its largest available audience. Television seems to have a better grasp of the short attention span in its packaging and presentation (just look at any local TV newscast.) Radio needs to do a more efficient job at catering to a short-attention-span society in the way it promotes and packages on the air and online. Writing that is colorful, quicker, and better is an important goal to attain and it is worth studying TV to emulate its success.

2) Radio can learn from the impactful appointment setting that TV has made commonplace. Remember the first moment we saw a TV newscast setting hyper-specific appointments? We may have been uncomfortable with that practice but eventually it became commonplace. Always go back to your product and inspect the effectiveness of your appointment setting. Ensure that you have a plan that is consistent 24/7 in appointment

3) Television has made the "art of the tease" a standard procedure. It is obvious if you watch any TV product that this is an ongoing area of perfection that they attain. The words and style are crafted in such a way that you are enticed to hang around for another "viewing occasion" Have you constantly reviewed every one of your tease methods? Monitor any television station and observe their tease methods so you can improve your process with your brand.

4) Television has worked at perfecting the art of "hyper-local" when a big
local story breaks. Even though we see a steady dose of national content, TV stations maximize the moment when a local story takes front and center. When the Boston Marathon bombing happened, all of the local TV stations performed at their best. Radio has proven in times of need the importance of a local "heart and soul" and we shouldn't forget about this critical priority. TV has realized that local is a part of their core attributes, and radio is no different.

5) Television has perfected the art of "seamless transitions," when one show ends and the next begins. The forward momentum and pacing is so strong you sometimes don't even realize one show has ended and another has begun. This is another area of TV we should study and note how it executes in a metered world. If you want your audience to hang around longer, mastering the art of
seamless transitions can help.

Buzz Knight is the Vice President of Program Development for Greater Media and he can be reached at Knight was named among “Best Programmers” by Radio Ink Magazine in 2007 and 2010. He has served on the programming subcommittee of the National Association of Broadcasters(NAB) and is currently a member of the Arbitron Radio Advisory Council and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) COLRAM Committee.

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