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The Weekend Audience

The weekend kickoff might have been heralded by Scott Shannon when he was on Q105/Tampa or at Z100/NYC playing Todd Rundgren “Bang the Drum.” Maybe it was Charlie Tuna on K-Earth/Los Angeles playing “Working for the Weekend” by Loverboy or Bob Moody on WAKY/Louisville playing The Charlie Daniels Band “South’s Gonna Do It Again.” If you lived on the North Coast, you heard Murray Saul on WMMS/Cleveland start the weekend with his famous “got to, got to, got to, get down” chant. 96 Rock in Atlanta sounded the 5 o’clock whistle preceded by the ticking of a clock. The list of legendary weekend kick-off’s is long.

People look forward to the weekend. They just do. There’s always been a relationship between radio and Saturday & Sunday. Maybe it’s because of the change in life habits on a weekend. It’s possible that it’s because the airstaff line-up changes on the weekend and that brings a sense of variety to the audience. We know that listeners change their listening habits on the weekend. The absence of a mental time clock, generated by the work-a-day life, allows for leisure listening.

Monday thru Friday there’s a cadence to our lives. What you listen to when you awake, through the workday, after work, evenings and nights varies by what you’re in the mood for to enhance your life for a moment. What station “gets you up?” What station do you listen to for information? Which one helps you relax? Those emotions are connected to one’s favorite stations, a DSP, an artist and their music, information/talk, and your own purchased music.

People generally awake in a pattern. They go to work at the same time, even when working from home, and they usually wrap-up their workday at a consistent time. It’s on the weekend when someone hits Seek and Scan on their radio. They click from one app to another. They “window shop” within their world of digital subscriptions to hear something different. You have an opportunity to convert a walk-in listener into a regular listener.

Take advantage of the weekend audience to showcase your station and expose them to what your station programs on the weekend. Craft and air promotional messages that recycle the weekend listener to your weekday programming. Encourage the audience to share the station with their friends & family. Promote what you do weekdays and “ask for the order” to have someone reset the preset to your station. Mark for memory where a station can be heard. Encourage a listener to download your app. Talk on the weekend about the weekday content, personalities, contests and answer the “why” to the question “why should someone listen to you station?”

React to the emotion the audience has on a weekend. Present the weather. Even though “there’s an app for that” … don’t make me us it. Provide that service for me. Same for traffic if you’re in a major market. Talk about what’s going on in your community. Hype your weekend contests on the weekend. Mention where the stations’ personalities are in the way of appearances and remote broadcasts. Relate to the listeners usage of your station. Coach your talent on how to sound and communicate on the weekend. Explain these differences to them.

Arm your sales team with research that validates why an advertiser should be advertising with your station on weekends, too. Weekend listening is at a premium if you’re selling it to a retailer, auto dealer, restaurant, and anyone else whose business or service is dependent on weekend consumer traffic. Radio has that audience on the weekend. That’s true especially if you’re a music station.

In a recent Share of Ear study from Edison Research, the results show the strength of music listening on the weekend based on consumption of music audio. The study shows that nearly three-quarters of daily audio time among 13+ in the USA is spent with music. The study notes that “for most people most of the time, music is their audio choice.” When it comes to a weekday versus a weekend comparison, the consumption of music starts later on the weekend, but lasts across more hours. Weekday music listening peaks in the 3:00pm-4:00pm hour. Music consumption on the weekend peaks in the 10:00am-11:00am hour.

If radio is to get a piece of the large amount of music consumption that takes place on the weekend it will need to improve the listening environment by airing fewer commercials. At least air fewer in the hours where your market shows peak listening levels. Put your best foot forward in these hours and play your best and biggest hits, but add in some spice, to keep the mix fresh. What can you do to create can’t miss – must listen content?

Cross-promote from weekends into weekdays. Promote your air talent’s programs. Hype the contests, experiences, events and appearances that are connected to your station. Play a lot of music. Image the station. Relate to the emotional “feeling” that your station creates. There are some radio stations that just sound like the weekend.

If you air special weekend programming, promote it throughout the weekend, but more importantly promote these specials on-air Thursday and Friday. It makes your audience aware that the station is still on the air on the weekend. Do what you can to own them. Ask the national network talent to record station provided sweepers and liners to make the show sound a part of your regular programming. Never ever “flip a switch and walk away” from your syndicated or network programming.

Most importantly; air messaging on the weekend that informs the new or casual weekend listener of what you do through the week. Your primary focus on the weekend should be to convert visitors to your station to weekday regular listeners. Advertise your station on your own signal and stream. Do not throw away the weekend. Arguably your weekends should sound as good, if not better, than your weekday programming.

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