Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Seeing Red

An idea for [alternative] rock radio...

CURRENTS and lots of them.

Am I crazy? I don't think so. [You, of course, are free to think what you want.]

How many currents? How does 70% of the clock sound? WHAT?!? Yup, 70% current/recurrent. Why not? It's way more than most than most Alternative stations play but still less than a typical CHR would offer. This station is all about today's alternative music. Don't like today's music, that's OK, but this station is probably not for you.

And the Gold? Nothing older than 1992-1993 and usually no more than 4 titles per hour.

This is an idea I have been talking about for quite a while, but as you might imagine it is not an easy sell. No need to go through all of the reasons--you already know what they are.

Last spring I was having a conversation with a friend and client about this very subject. I laid out my vision
for the format and outlined why I thought it could work. To my [pleasant] surprise, we started really talking about it. By the beginning of August we were on the air.

The market is an unlikely place--Alexandria, LA. A market of around 162,000 people and devoid of rock currents.

Nearly everything about the way this station was put together challenges convention. Starting with the logo--it's hard to read, there's no positioning statement, and one could argue it doesn't really look like a radio station logo. Exactly! Kudo's to the local station folks for creating such a distinctive non-traditional look. We tested this logo with the locals and the response was off the map. I came up with the name "RED" and it does have a local connection--the Red River runs through the city. But ultimately we believed it spoke to the hip and cool image we were trying to create.

What else did we do to prepare for launch? Sure, we did the normal music scheduling set up, prepared an imaging package, and lined up LOCAL air talent (that's an entire post for another time). While those are vital pieces of the puzzle there were two other elements that I felt were mission critical: 1. We had to stream on day one. 2. We had to be connected to our potential listeners on multiple social network sites on day one. The station is active on My Space, Twitter, and Facebook.

The social networking strategy has been a big success. Despite the fact that this is a very small market the station has amassed over 900 friends with more than 21,000 page views in a very short time on My Space alone.

The station launched with a simple splash page website that included the logo, an email address, streaming link, and links to the aforementioned social networking sites. Today, the stations full website is up and running...see it here.

By now you are probably asking yourself...this sounds kinda interesting but how's it doing? Glad you asked. The fall ratings were released the other day and Red 104.3 is off to a tremendous start. Here you can see some of the highlights compared to the last book of the previous format (classic rock):
Source: Arbitron Maximiser sp08/fa08

Needless to say everyone involved is quite pleased with the results of the stations first book. Now the hard part begins...continuing to grow the stations fan base and build a local franchise.

Formats like this take courage and guts--largely missing from most "conference room" format discussions today. It's not easy to test. It will most likely never show up as a "most desirable" format. Heck, many format finder studies are designed with the format left out completely.

As radio struggles on so many levels today, the timing is right to rethink everything. It might be time to at least consider the concept that there might be a market for newer rock music played without the older rock safety shield.


Anonymous said...

Really? 5.1?? try 4.1 share,you did come up (NEW STATION!!!)this city goes crazy over new stuff, Like Tocco Bueno new, packed now empty, those are not correct numbers you gave, the station is lame, you are right there was No station playing ALL ALT, but do not get to excited it's called "Honeymoon" when thats over so is red..no power, (Jocks sound like they never been on radio) all new formates get it. Not only is this station the worst "ROCK" station ever, and the response Not that great, In our in house research team has shown... Music was a turn on at first but now its a tune out,Fact.. people in the (MEN demo) thought "cool a new rock station" but it does not rock, so say good bye to the men, the morning show is BAD,very BAD!!! Mid-day girl, stupid sounding, My advice, opus get your money back from a consultant that should stick to making cookies, and hire a real rock P.D that gets it, because RED will soon be treated like a RED Headed step child, Beaten and trown out.

HARVE ALAN said...

I will leave this "well written" comment up for all to see. It is one of the more humorous anonymous posts I have seen in quite some time. Enjoy.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, I live in Lake Charles (Louisiana) and it surely would be interesting to listen to this station. But a translator is located at 104.1 here in Lake Charles and 104.5 KKMY out of Beaumont both block the 104.3 signal on my analog radio.

HARVE ALAN said...

check out the stream: