What works what doesn’t on air: Francis Currie’s ultimate aircheck #RDE16

Guests singing on air… only if it is a big star who can sing

Prank calls… Get out straight after the reveal.

Kids on air… keep it short.

Callers singing on air… keep it short, move on fast

Males like stitch up pranks more than females

They’re common rules of radio presentation, but in an ‘Ultimate Aircheck’ presentation at Radio Days Paris, Francie Currie and business partner Niklas Nordén of CurrieNorden Consulting illustrated those rules dramatically, showing audience reactions in real time using the company’s audience research technology.

The research method involves sample listeners clicking a score from 1-7, from minus 3 (bad) to zero (neutral) to plus 3 (very good), in an online listening test. Audiences can be recruited from social media or from a core listener database, the station can choose who it wants to test.

People rate the audio by tapping on a coloured button every five seconds as the clip is playing. If the person doesn’t click, then the clip stops playing until they make a selection.

“This can be so valuable for helping producers and presenters fine tune their shows, they can see just how well each part of their show is doing,” said Currie.

Another learning is that “too long” is never about actual time on air. A feeling of being too long as far as the audience is concerned is when the content is no longer engaging. Some long segments can be so engaging that the audience thinks they are short, but boring content seems too long.

Currie also warned not to only research your primary audience, you must also research what other listeners think of your shows because you can use that information to expand your audience.

That’s all very well, but seeing is believing. Watch as listeners respond to KIIS LA’s Ryan Seacrest and Z100’s Elvis Duran.


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