[JPL] Where has the passion gone?

Bouille, John JBouille at SHAWU.EDU
Sat Aug 12 12:41:35 EDT 2006

"Where has the Passion Gone"

Do you remember when you first started listening to jazz? We all have that story the first time it made sense to us and we felt like we were on the inside. Then you did everything you could to find out what was new, what was hot and keep you finger on the pulse and study up on the old that you did not know much about. Do you remember when you weren't afraid to ask questions or say that you didn't't know something without fear that it would tarnish your jazz IQ? In programming, where has the passion gone?

Think about it, this is the greatest music in the world right? Do we program it with that statement in mind or the excitement that comes with being the best something in the world? The answer is simply no. With all these charts telling you what time to take a break, what song to play, and when you can use the bathroom the normal response to a younger listener when asked " Do you listen to jazz radio" and the number one response is " No it's boring" How can it be that when you talk to a friend or musical colleague about jazz the fire is there but, when you talk to your audience it's this is the way jazz is supposed to sound radio.

The reason is your air-staff looks at their board shift like a job they are sick of and know how to do just enough to make it sound good. Why should your listeners settle for mediocrity just because you're bored? If you're bored do something to excite yourself and your show. Yes, I know it is our job to play the new music but, just playing something without giving the listener something else is boring. Where have the interviews gone? What happened to actually prepping for the interview before you go on the air with the musician?

Today's host does his/her work in the studio goes home and forgets about tomorrow's show until they are in the studio again. Now I know you are creative but how creative can you be every morning without any prep. Say you have an interview scheduled and don't mention it until the day before to you listeners. Well most listeners won't even retain the information. If someone asked you what does your show offer consistently besides music and voice breaks, would you be able to add anything else to the list?

Now some people are saying well I am the best host at my station and always bring in the most money during fundraising. That is all well and good unless everyone else at your station sucks!

What if everyone at your station did a great show? Would it put you on your toes more and force you to take this a little more seriously? The key to a radio success is the best on-air staff you can find that doesn't't need to be told what to play or how to sound. Let them be creative. After all isn't that spurned your passion for this music in the first place? That's right it was creativity. 

I know many programmers that this does not pertain too but, that is not enough.

John Bouille 
WSHA Program Director
118 East South Street
Raleigh, NC 27601
1-800-241-0421 ~ 919-546-8433

-----Original Message-----
From: jazzproglist-bounces at jazzweek.com
[mailto:jazzproglist-bounces at jazzweek.com]On Behalf Of Jae Sinnett
Sent: Friday, August 11, 2006 11:40 AM
To: jazzproglist at jazzweek.com
Subject: [JPL] Fundraisers


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Bob, thanks for your interest with this. I'll share some of my thoughts as to how I approach fundraisers in this post from one or two "technical" standpoints. I have a few other methods that I use but we'll leave it with these for now because of the length. 
  Someone just posted something about jazz being relegated to non friendly listener hours. Indeed in most cases and I knew - particularly during the weeknights - my audience would be fairly small considering the time frame. My program runs Monday through Thursday from 9pm-1am and Sunday afternoons from 12-5pm. We have jazz on Saturday evenings but I don't host the shows. Over the years I started paying attention to how other locally produced programs on our station fared during the drives. One of the things I zeroed in on was the average  pledge dollar amount of these shows and most were in the $35-$65 range. I wondered why that was considering that our research tells us that our listener base have the highest income and educational levels. Then it hit me......the reason they average that is simply because that's what they "ask" for - 90 percent of the time. 
  Basic marketing tells us that folk have to hear something at least three times before folk react - remember that headache medicine commercial? I think it's called "Heads On" or something like that. They say it three times. The other part and most importantly for us during the drives.......is we get what we ask for. Too often this is underestimated during the drives. There's a lot of truth in this. That was the first change I made during my air time. I mentioned this to someone and they said....."well Jae, that's good but you'll lose in your numbers of folk pledging." I focused on our "mid" level pledge amount which is $120. I use that dollar amount as my "base" now so over the past six years my average pledge dollar amount for my show is  $125. The highest of any show we air. The other part is the credit card incentive......
  I constantly ask for the credit card and my credit card pledges are at 98 percent. Again, the highest of any program. Plus, it's instant money....if the credit card goes through of course. I also give them reasons for using the credit card like better thank you gifts or that it cuts down on "us" having to send them thank you reminders and monthly billing statements. 
  Now did it cut down on my numbers of folk pledging? Yes, to a degree but here's how I look at it..... The alternative/rock show that preceeds my jazz program weeknights has about 50 times more the audience I have - understandably. When that show first started it averaged about $1000-2000 for a two hour program from 7pm-9pm - prime time night hours I will add. The average pledge amount was about $$50. The average number of pledges for that show would run about 10-20 more per night than jazz. Jazz averages about $1500-$4000 weeknights (not my Sundays) - with less pledges than his show but my average dollar amount is considerably higher. His Saturday afternoon show of four hours averaged about $3000-4000. My average for my Sunday show is now at about $10,000 for five hours. He averages about 20-40 more pledges than me on his Saturday show but again look at the dollar amount average.
  He and I talked about this and I said to him you'll get your dollar amounts up if you focus on a larger amount for your pledge base. He did and now his pledge totals are at about where mine are for weeknight jazz and his Saturday totals are at about $5000-6000 average. Jazz came in at the top for the past two fundraisers with his show second now and then ME and ATC and our morning classical show on our other station in fourth. 
  Since no one responded to my initial post with this a few months ago I'll stop here. If folk seem to be interested I'll continue. These are just a few areas but then there is the music and other uses of incentives like our Leadership Circle level challenge. 
  Jae Sinnett
  Norfolk VA  

Bob Rogers <rwsfin at hotmail.com> wrote: 

I'm responding to your gracious feedback on my comments in today's JPL. Yes, 
I am somewhat familiar with your core views re: jazz radio and I share them.

I've been thinking lately about a post you made several months ago regarding 
the fact that during a fundraiser your jazz program actually bested the NPR 
news programming on your station. I'd like to follow up on that because, as 
you know, we've been exposed to very few jazz radio success stories recently 
and when there are success stories such as yours, they need to be followed 
up on, studied and amplified among us. I was a little surprised that no one 
had pursued the subject with you, but I probably should have done so at the 
time myself.

Perhaps you could elaborate a little about what you did that resulted in 
your success in out-pulling NPR for pledges. Not just what you did, but the 
way you did it. After all, it ain't what you do, it's the way 
that....well, you know.

Best regards,

Bob Rogers

Bob Rogers
2816 Barmettler Street
Raleigh, NC 27607
WSHA - www.wshafm.org
Bouille & Rogers Consultants
email: rwsfin at hotmail.com
phone: (919) 413-4126

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