Double Your Ratings It’s Just Math

A headline like Double Your Ratings seems like it will be followed by a comment like, “Get twice as many listeners.” It doesn’t seem possible, or at least it’s unlikely. But this is not a “get rich quick” scheme. Increasing ratings is not as impossible as programmers and air personalities think.

Most broadcasters immediately think it would require a massive marketing campaign or big-money contest, but it comes down to a) math and b) excellent execution with a laser focus.

Double Your Ratings

Whether your station (or show) has a 10-share or a 2-share, your station can double your ratings. It’s easier to double a lowly-rated station than a dominant 20-share, but the same principle applies

The truth is, this double your ratings strategy works for everyone by getting more value from the existing available listeners who already like you. It’s explained in detail in the seminar  Double Your Ratings, but here’s a quick explanation.

The Math

Nobody gets into radio because of a passion for math, but follow along!

The following data is based on adults aged 25-54 in the morning show (6-10 am Monday-Friday). According to Nielsen (in PPM-measured markets), here’s how much a typical station’s P1 listeners tune in:

* 3 quarter-hours per day.

* 2 days per week

* Total listening for a P1 listener: 6 quarter-hours per week.

Let this sink in. The average P1 tunes in just 2 days per week. Repeat for emphasis: The average P1 (note average listener, not total cume, but the average P1) tunes in just 2 days per week.

Again, that is P1’s (your best listeners), and the average P1 tunes in 3 times per morning (for at least five minutes), for about six quarter-hours per week.

By the way, each listening occasion lasts just over 7 minutes. That’s not relevant in this discussion, but it’s interesting. Most broadcasters think it’s much longer. But no matter how long the average commute time is, the average tune-in time is shorter because it’s so easy to change stations. And the audience does change stations.

Even more surprising: The average length of a tune-in occasion for a casual (non-P1) listener is less than three minutes. Ouch.

The Magic Trick: The Power of Plus-One

What if the existing audience listened one more time and one more day per week? That doesn’t sound like much. By getting one more tune-in per day and one more day per week from current P1 listeners, quarter-hours grow from 6 per week to 12.

3 days/week x 4 times per day = 12 quarter hours/week

That’s all there is to it. Just add one more occasion per day and one more day per week (Daily Cume). Plus One seems like a magic trick.

How does that change the way you approach tomorrow’s show?

* Will you spend a few more minutes preparing teases for upcoming features?

* Does it make you want to tease more frequently?

* How about promoting a hit song with a bit more enthusiasm? All quarter-hours matter, regardless of whether listeners stay for a talk segment or a song.

* Are you more committed to show prep?

* Doesn’t inviting listeners to tune in tomorrow by promoting something specific on social media make sense?

* Maybe that morning show promo that runs all day will get more thoughtful attention instead of just slapping together an “if you missed this morning’s show, you missed this” promo.

* Will more thought go into every break, even throw-aways that happen early in the morning when “nobody is listening?”

Reality Check

Now, let’s look at it a little deeper. Sorry, I know math sucks. Consider how the audience is listening. Most shows prepare too much content. Or, more specifically, they prepare too much weak B-level content.

Assume a show is on four hours per day, five days per week, and presents four breaks per hour. There are 80 segments per week.

5 days/week x 4 hours/day x 4 breaks/hour = 80

If the average P1 hears six quarter hours per week (see above), they only listen to 7.5% of your show.

6/80=7.5%. Your best listeners miss more than 92% of your show.

That has a severe impact:

Content: Are you sure you talk about the most top-of-mind material frequently enough? Mentioning a top story at 7:20 doesn’t mean the audience hears it.

Explanation: Do you frame content and introduce topics clearly and concisely every time? Most of your audience didn’t hear the set-up 20 minutes ago. Confusion is the #1 reason listeners tune out talk segments, and it’s easy to confuse them. That’s why it’s so essential to Master the Setup.

Show Prep: What if every segment were A-level content? And shouldn’t great material be repeated and repurposed to increase the chance your audience hears the best the show offers?


Don’t be depressed about how little the audience is tuned in. Be excited. It’s easy to see that the challenge of winning listeners isn’t that overwhelming.

Just get one more quarter-hour per day. One more occasion. And get one day per week.

That’s all there is to it.

Start now. Plan one thing for tomorrow’s show that has a legitimate chance of earning an extra listening occasion. Promote it. Tease. it. Develop multiple angles or a compelling storyline to increase your chances of gaining an advantage.

One extra quarter-hour. One extra day per week. Double your ratings. That’s all it takes.

Pic designed by michaelangeloop for Envato Elements.
Tracy Johnson is a talent coach and programming consultant. He’s the President/CEO of Tracy Johnson Media Group. His book Morning Radio has been described as The Bible of Personality Radio and has been used by personalities worldwide.

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