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Because It’s Summer

'Cause it's summer. Summertime is here. Yes, it's summer. My time of year. Yes, it's summer. My time of year. – Lyrics to Summer by War 1976.

There are two approaches to summer, which I want to encourage radio to take advantage of, and to view the season as an opportunity to generate revenue and build an audience. One is using the season to introduce your radio station to new listeners. The other is to own the season as a way to engage an audience and engage advertisers.

One; using the season to introduce your radio station to new listeners:

Summer, weekend, holidays, vacations and anytime there’s a disruption in a routine, radio stations have a chance to be discovered by listeners to the radio. During the workweek, when listening is habitual, no one has an opportunity or time to search new apps, new channels, or hit seek to find a new radio station. It’s leisure moments when radio users discover new radio stations. They stumble onto new stations when they’re not rushed and that presents an opportunity for radio and personalities.

This won’t be a popular suggestion, but this is exactly why radio should have air-talent on-air on the weekend and holidays. Even if voice-tracked, pre-recorded or syndicated, be on-air, so that your various talents are showcased. Your station has an opportunity to attract a new listener by hearing something they may like and adopt. Discovery of a new on-air personality, or a personality that’s new to you, or a radio station that you were unaware of, is one of the ways most people find a new radio station. That and word-of-mouth. The latter often comes from discovery a station.

Segueing music without air-talent and using only production and sweepers in place of the connectivity and entertainment that attracts an audience, isn’t the way to convert a listener, and it positions your radio station poorly. Do you want to be “that station” that sounds cold and emotionless? No personality? Not connected to your market? What message does that send to a listener or advertiser?

Two; own the season as a way to engage an audience and engage advertisers:

Most communities have festivals, parades, fairs, circuses, concerts, outdoor movies, sports be they professional or amateur, rib cook-offs, beer fest, community pools open, church events, cultural events and more. The radio station that can attach itself to these events, and own them for the community, increases its chance of converting a listener to one of their own. It also enhances the stations profile in a market which is beneficial in attracting the attention of advertisers and potential advertisers.

First and foremost, you need to know your market, as “summer” sparks negatives in places like Phoenix, Las Vegas and Tucson. I remember making the suggestion to present the 106 Days of Summer to my then Las Vegas client. They quickly pointed out how summer is not the desired season in the desert as it is in other parts of the country and the world. In their case we focused on activities indoors like big auto, home and design shows.

The key is to be everywhere and be seen everywhere. There are stations that have branded ice cream trucks with their logos. Believe it or not … some communities still have those. Live on-site broadcasts are not only a revenue generating tactic, but they are a part of what makes a radio station memorable. That is a marketing tactic, too. Local communities have “Splash Parties” where a DJ mixes music poolside.

When a big event comes to a community, like an Air Show, be there and be seen. Do more than have a table with a banner. Big classy. Be big. Make your presence known. Give away premiums that make your station memorable., Be the logoed sunglasses, visors, T-Shirts or koozies. One of the tricks that I regularly recommend is underwriting the T-shirts for security and the workers at an event. If the event is for a non-profit … underwrite the shirt … and put your logo on the sleeve or a less high-profile location. Somewhere that it will be seen, but not larger than the events logo.

Create fun imaging for on-air. Do things like announce your station as the official station of summer. It’s self-proclaimed, but it’s meant as a fun liner. We need to have more fun on-air. Do it with what you write and produce. It’s always fun to be tongue-in-cheek and claim to be the station that “Rocks the Rivers, Shakes the Lakes and Parties at the Pool.” I’m confident that many of you can write much more creatively and develop something more special for your station. It’s not intended to be credible. It’s intended to be memorable and fun.

Here's to a great summer. Own it.

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