It’s All About Me! posted on January 11th, 2023
by Dave Tyler
I got my first radio job in 1983 at 1560AM WKIQ in tiny Inverness, Florida. The radio station was in a trailer between my house and the bus stop, so every day I would knock on the locked door and ask for a job. The PD was a guy named Greg and every day he said “No!”….well, until one day he opened the door and said “I’ll make deal with you, I’ll hire you but you can only come here when you are scheduled!”
He had me on the air doing Radio trader and running programs off of cassettes and records. I would say things like “It’s partly cloudy outside and I hope everybody has a nice day”. Greg would storm in and say “Has is it ever been partly cloudy INSIDE??? Ever??” and “Stop saying EVERYBODY….you are not talking to everybody, you are talking to individuals, you are talking to ME. If I hear you say EVERYBODY again, you’ll work every holiday for the rest of the year”. Fact was, I was 16 and the newbie and was already working every holiday and weekend, but his point was well received. We are not programming to the population but to each person in it.
For those that have seen me, it is clear that I love McDonald’s and Pizza Hut. A bag of burgers or a pan pizza and I’m a pretty happy dude. But if you ever visit me in Ocala, Florida and want a great burger, I will take you to the locally owned Lodge. Huge burgers, and the one with pork belly on it is ridiculously good. I mean you’ll take selfies with it, it is so good! And for pizza, we’re going to Lorito’s on the Blvd. It’s been there for 40+ years and has the finest pizza, and they make their own salad dressing too. You’ll be dipping your crust in it and savoring it like the last bite of lobster at a fancy dinner.
These are two of more than a thousand places, people, and things in my town that make it special, and your radio station is one of those important ingredients that makes your market so unique as well.
Ok so what does this have to do with MusicMaster? Gosh so much! Just as Stevie Ray Vaughn used a Fender Stratocaster to get the sound in his head out through his amplifier, MusicMaster is the tool you use to get that special, one-of-a-kind sound in your head out of the speakers. It is the reason why you can have two stations in the same market playing the exact same songs with equal talent and imaging, yet one is heads and shoulders above the rest to the listener.
Probably 60% of my career has been on the air, scheduling and programming Country music, so I am going to lean on that throughout this article. If I travel to Texas, I expect a huge helping of Aaron Watson, Pat Green, Lyle Lovett, Red Dirt, and Swing all spicing up the Country station I am listening to, and I would be disappointed if I didn’t hear it. Same goes if I am in Kentucky. I would be sad if I didn’t hear a lot more Ricky Skaggs and Alison Krauss. And you better believe if I am anywhere in Southern California near Bakersfield, I want to be overserved Buck Owens and Dwight Yoakam on the Country radio there, not to mention local artists. It’s part of the reason I love travelling. There is something special and unique about every market and it is important to program to the people who live there and give them that spice they love, even if the rest of the world doesn’t get it. Don’t schedule to EVERYBODY schedule to ME!
MusicMaster has so many incredible tools, like song coding for specialty programming and themed weekends (see my article on this at https://musicmaster.com/?p=7152). This gives you the ability to present your sales team with focused programming they can sell to a targeted local clientele. In doing this, you’ll find sales team members coming up to you asking if you can have a themed weekend for the furniture store (hmmm ok rocking chair and porch sitting songs…I can do that!) to Beach/Lake/Boat themed weekends they can sell to the local Marine dealer. Local themes sold to local stores for the entertainment of the local individuals.
And it doesn’t even have to be a themed weekend. It could be something as simple as a ”Double-Shot Weekend” using MusicMaster Special Sets. Check out Paul Ziino’s great 4 part blog about Special Sets here: (Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four). There is a station in my town that does this every Sunday and I listen to them exclusively because they pull it off perfectly and I love hearing two songs in a row by the same artist. They sell it and it sounds fresh and exciting and is literally playing on every radio in town and yeah…they use MusicMaster to do it.
You might have a hot Country station (or whatever format) that really leans on the new stuff but every time you are out at a remote or answer the phone, you keep hearing how folks miss hearing that 70s, 80’s and 90s Country. This could be an opportunity to highlight this music and to get it sponsored. Stick it in a “Oh Wow” or “Variety” category in MM or code it as such, and then you can highlight it as a once-a-show feature or a weekly program, or whatever way fits best.
We all know we can’t change the way we program willy nilly because one person said something, but if the market agrees that they love what you do already but sure wouldn’t mind hearing some other part of your format, then it is worth at least considering how to fill that need if you find there is a legitimate hole in the market. Give the people what they want.
Consultant Keith Hill said to me many, many years ago “Every time you crack the mic you need to prove you live here”. That is a huge statement and goal, and it is not always easy, but it is right. Our listeners each have a plethora of ways to get their music. Heck, I’m a radio guy and I have a couple dozen Amazon and Spotify playlists myself! However, if an individual feels you are speaking to them, relating to them, feeding them music they want to hear by introducing them to great new music and local talent, and surprising them with great old tunes, they’ll be intrigued and stick around to hear more.
Coding your music, Special Sets, using migrating positions…MusicMaster has so many tools for you to use to make your sound pop and keep sounding fresh. The thing that gets me out of bed each day is the fact that I know I will get a call from a Programmer that has a cool idea and really wants to make it come out of the speakers! To me, that is the fun stuff and I know I speak for my colleagues here at MusicMaster when I say those are the calls they get the most excited about too. We are here and ready for the next great idea that will make your station like that great burger folks keep coming back for day after day! Yum!