In a normal world- which we are not in at the minute to be fair- there are generally two times of the year when wholesale changes and refreshes of output are very much accepted by audiences. There is always reaction to change, some positive and some negative [age old rule of not being able to please all of the people all of the time].
The two times of the year are generally September-ish- back end of summer and into the kind of “back to work” mindset following the summer. Traffic levels and busy periods return to the usual pattern and its a time when refreshing things fall into line with the lifestyle and plan of listeners. This year- that fell by the wayside just a little since the lifestyle was already out of kilter and the world was on its head. That said, there was a little bit of the feeling and lifestyle with schools going back and then university etc- but then second wave made everything very different.
The second time is about to hit. If anything, its the biggest opportunity to refresh and change. Of course January and the “new year, new you” etc is pretty obvious. There is a little bit of leeway with the timing as always- don’t feel like if you don’t press the button on a refresh on Jan 1st you’ve missed it, you really have not. In the current environment also those kind of things are pretty fluid and the “back to the new normal” is going to be longer and somewhat unknown. It’s still the best time of year to do that refresh, and I’ve always heard the words of US Radio Consultant Tracy Johnson in my head when thinking about doing these kinds of things. He alway said to put things into 3 piles when looking at anything- breakfast benchmarks, or contests, or anything you are doing which you are looking at freshening up…
I’ve changed them a bit over the years from Tracy’s original and usefully they all begin with R, because that’s what radio people do…
- Regenerate or Renew- Taken what you have got and give it a fresh twist or spruced up feel.
- Rest. Recognise what has run its course and those things you are doing which you are doing just because you have always done them.
- Replace. Close on number 2, not always required that you replace anything rested of course, but what do you have which needs a replacement
It’s worth taking the time to roll through everything on air and apply the above by the time you are done with January. It also works with off air things too… taking the time to look at habits and what you could change- not just for changes sake, but because its needed.
Spring is potentially a good refresh time too- Spring Clean and all that.Its a bit more fluid when it comes to timing though and so whilst a lifestyle fit, is less calendar defined in the mind of a listener.
We are all aching for a refresh as we look to 2021 I know, putting everything that 2020 behind us- or at least the worst bits of course. Sync with the listener behaviour and take the opportunity to comb through the things you do on air, and off air (and indeed perhaps in your own life) and kick off 2021 with a renewed vigour.