How Not To Handle A Format Change
Among the many format changes that took place on Monday one has stuck out to as a template on how not to manage your audience before, during, and after the change.
On Thursday, American General Media announced it would be moving Rhythmic CHR “Power 106.3” KAGM Albuquerque on Monday at 8:00am to the 106.7 frequency that was home to CHR “OMG Radio” KDLW, while being quiet about what was happening on the other side.
The “Power” side of things was handled perfectly. The station hyped its move on-air all weekend. The station’s website and Facebook page were updated with the new logo and dial position on Thursday well in advance of the actual change. Their morning host Double J was very active in hyping the change and ensuring the audience knew what was coming.
Meanwhile, “OMG Radio” left its CHR audience in the dark. On Friday afternoon the following banner appeared on their website and Facebook page. No information was given regarding what the announcement would be about on April Fools Day.
As the clock hit 8:00 on Monday morning, Power’s Double J was counting down the seconds until the station moved to the new frequency and ensuring the audience was engaged and ready to change their dial positions. On “OMG Radio“? Jockless music in place of the station’s now former morning show. That announcement that was supposed to be made at 8:00 never happened. To the KDLW audience their station simply became the new home of “Power“.
The CHR format had actually moved down to 106.3 where it was rebranded as “Z106.3“. Outside of a one line statement on the station’s Facebook page a couple hours after the change, there’s no way for the audience to know the format was moved. Most of the listeners thought the whole thing was an April Fools joke.
More than a day later things haven’t improved. A visit to 1067OMGRadio.com brings a jumbled mess of Under Construction banners and to listen for that announcement that never happened.
KDLW did everything in its power to throw the OMG Radio audience in the trash. They did absolutely nothing to redirect their listeners to the new station. In a market with two other Mainstream CHR competitors, American General Media gladly handed the OMG audience over to Cumulus’ 93.3 KOB-FM and Clear Channel’s “Channel 95.1“.
This is not meant to be an attack just on how KDLW handled the change. It is 2013. If you don’t have your online and social media presence ready to go the second you flip the switch on a new format or even adding a new programming element you are failing your airstaff, sales department, and especially your audience. You have these free promotional elements to interact with your audience and engage them from the second you launch. Especially in an era when you’re likely not going to launch with any on-air personalities out of the gate.
As the traffic logs for this site can attest to, when people want information on a new station or a major personality disappears they quickly look it up online. If you’re not controlling the flow of information to your own property, how can you expect to evangelize them about what they’re hearing. A couple months ago I had the owner of a station that had changed formats a few months earlier tell me that he couldn’t afford to update the old website content. Four months later the website which will rename nameless still promotes programming that hasn’t aired on the station in almost a year, while no information exists online for the new format.
How can you expect to draw listeners and make your station viable if you can’t promote your own programming?