Sunday, June 28, 2009

Did We Or Didn't We? Part II


No and yes.

[following up on Friday's post]

How did radio do with Michael Jackson coverage?

While impossible to know what was said or produced, I did review a ton of music logs from all around the country in markets big and small. Here's what I found:

Thursday night looked pretty rough--the effects of tracking and syndication were clearly evident. Some stations in the largest markets were clearly all over it. In smaller markets, which aren't so small, like Providence, RI (1.3 million people) radio missed the boat. I guess folks in Providence care less about a breaking story than someone in NYC. If you were there Thursday night you were hard pressed to hear anything about it on the radio--at least his music. Again, I can only judge by the music that was played.

Friday, during the day, was a different story. From morning drive onward stations seemed to be on it in varying degrees depending on format and specific station.

It was interesting to note how stations of the same format came to different decisions on whether to play Jackson's music or not and how much of it. There were stations I thought should have been all over the music and were not, and conversely, stations that would not typically expected to own it, did.

So, did we or didn't we?

Based on my research I give radio a passing grade, but as my teachers used to tell me--there's room for improvement. Overall, a C-.

Sadly, radio is so understaffed and unprepared for any event that strays from the norm. Few events rise to the level of Michael Jackson dieing, but there will be others. Next time, I'm afraid, I will write a column similar to this and I will be giving the same assessment, only worse. I hope my industry proves me wrong.


rs said...

Just a guess - but I suspect most radio ceos are ok being 15 hours late on anomalous event like MJ's death when compared with the millions saved annually by not having to be staffed every single day.

Of course - it will be interesting to see the PPM on those days.

Did stations that were "on it" perform better than the tracked stations compared to normal etc...

HARVE ALAN said...

Yes, I am sure they were. And this is why radio is no longer the go to medium it once was.

We used to do things in radio that had positive IMAGE impact...despite what the immediate ratings might show--up or down. This no longer happens. It's all about today. No time horizon allowed anymore.

This event is/was not about performing in the ratings. It is about seizing the moment and being a part of a one time event and making connections with your community. I know people care very much about ratings, but let's get our priorities straight. While TMZ, CNN, Fox, Twitter, Facebook, and countless others were reaping the benefit of this tragically sensational story some radio stations were busy with another 10 in a row.

Sorry, it's BS.