After Christmas and well into first quarter, expect to hear songs you don’t normally hear on the radio. We usually program them as “oh-wow” songs. With inventory low, many stations will need anywhere from 1-3 more songs an hour until late February or March.
Then, all of a sudden: “Oh-Wow” turns to “Oh-S***!
Wanna quickly know the “filler” songs on the station in your market with the lazy PD? Just listen to the end of the hour. PD’s with no first quarter strategy throw them at the end of the hour with a GTL (Go To Point In Log to Synch Time). There are two stations in Chicago who do this every year. I get a kick out of flipping over at the end of the hour and naming the filler songs (which disappear in Feb).
Hearing two or three of them in a row kills the “oh-wow” factor and poorly positions the radio station’s music image.
Instead of just dumping the filler songs, take a look inside your Selector or Music Master and see where the hour is getting off track. If your first break usually ends at :25, but with low spots you are done by :21, consider putting a filler at the bottom of the hour with an extra GTL. Have the GTL set to :29 or :30 and put the filler in front of it. This will allow your system to use it if needed to stay on track – or skip it if spots or content is sufficient.
Then put the 2nd filler song at the end of the hour using the same set-up GTL at :58 or :59 just after that song.
If you are using more than 2 fillers and hour, then a clock adjustments are necessary. Two fillers is already stretching your image thin, going further could damage it.
Also – treat the FILLER category like a REAL CATEGORY. Use separation, style and rotation rules. You would not want a ballad filler to follow a ballad regular song. Just be sure to put the filler category last in your schedule order so it doesn’t get precedence over a real category.
Hopefully you can find enough songs so they don’t repeat too often (especially January). You might also consider recycling the FILLER category. I don’t usually go there as over-night plays keep the category moving … but every format is different.
Also … be careful about letting the talent (usually weekend P/T’mers) from pointing out how we never play these songs. Position fillers as a positive
Here’s one of the all time greats from Bob Segar …
Here’s a song we haven’t played in a long time from Bob Segar …
You never win by letting the audience peek behind the “programming curtain.”
A friend is GM of a group and was telling me that his flagship station just wasn’t sounding hip enough – and he was stressed that this veteran staff wouldn’t be able to “hip-it up.”
Being as blunt as only a good friend can be … I told him he’d be better off being relevant than hip.
“You mean … we sound irrelevant?”
I didn’t meant that … exactly. But I listened for 3 hours and heard nothing their new competitor couldn’t do. In 3 hours:
I read back his position statement (#1 For Today’s New Hit Country) and asked him what exactly that meant. He laughed because he saw my point. Then we read the other guy’s position (New Country). Again … so what?
This is the friend that years ago told me that I’d never get ahead unless I wandered outside of my comfort zone – and he was correct: so we can be that kind of honest with each other.
The worst offenders of the irrelevant radio plague are the large market, public stations that use canned content and imaging. The voice-trackers don’t even say the name of the station anymore.
One of my early mentors, Charles Giddens, said it best:
You can only say you’re good for so long … eventually you have to actually be good
I would sub “good” for “relevant” today –