First: Find the Plot

Over the years I've spent programming radio stations, I’ve come to learn and use some simple, yet effective lenses for looking at radio stations, their on-air product, and the audience to create winning content offerings. In essence what every program director aims for as a result of their work is to either:

  • a) grow the station’s audience - that is, have more people listen
  • b) grow engagement with the audience, meaning having listeners spend more time with the station, or
  • c) have the winning combination of a plus b

Over the next few weeks, I’ll share some of the best 'lenses', or you may call them strategies, tools, and frameworks I’ve used successfully to program some of the best radio stations in the US Hispanic market.

What I'm about to share are only ways of looking at things (the market, our station, the audience) in order to help you get a different perspective. With a broader perspective, you'll have the opportunity to see something new about your station and how it can better serve the audience in the market to have the winning combination of a plus b. 

In this first article, I’d like to start with the big picture and look at how to find opportunities in the marketplace; what I’ve called "First: Find The Plot." We want to first look at the market as a whole to better understand how your station is positioned, finding the plot, the storyline of the marketplace and how your station fits into that plot. To do this I adapted a marketing positioning map that has proven very useful since I first found this way of looking at radio markets in 2011. 

Station Positioning Map


Trace The Axes

In one axis you can imagine the spectrum of music genres available in the market you’re analyzing. In the example above, the horizontal axis represents the spectrum of Spanish rhythmic pop/reggaeton on the left to what I’ll call hardcore Mexican regional music or corridos to the right. Spanish love songs follow pop to the right, grupera music is in the center of the line, as it's compatible with love songs and the lighter and softer end of the Mexican regional music styles like ranchera. The traditional banda and norteña styles will be placed right of center.

In the vertical axis, you’ll plot the average era of the music played on the stations. The bottom of the line will be oldies and the top of the line will represent the current year. 

Mark Station On The Plot

Each station on the map will be represented by a dot. If you have ratings information you can plot each station with a dot of the size corresponding the audience measure. A station with a 3 share will be represented by a circle three times larger than a station with a 1 share.

With this handy plot, you now have a visual representation of the market. This visual can help you find where there might be a hole you may have missed and move your station to fill it. It can also show you graphically where listeners’ have more choices and perhaps help you uncover opportunities for changing your station's position or modifying your blend in a direction that will help you differentiate your offering.

How To Find Opportunities

If you want your station to grow you need to first find where the audience is. Having this visual plot or map of the market helps you quickly identify opportunities to position your station where it has the best chance to succeed.

Here are some questions to consider when looking at the map:

  • What's the music format with the largest audience?
  • Are there enough stations serving the largest audience segment?
  • Is there an empty quadrant on the map and can a station find an audience there?
  • Is there a position covered by a station with a limited signal?

So there you have it - you now have a simple and effective way of looking at the competitive landscape. This simple plot can help you uncover opportunities for your station to be positioned for success in the marketplace.

What's Coming Next

In the next article, I’ll share why it’s important to SWEAT, and not just SWOT when analyzing your station. And no, you don't have to do any physical exercises to gain its benefits. 

Thanks for reading. 

RadioFernando Perez