I urge you to check out Jim McGuinn’s guest post on the Jacobs Media blog last Friday 5/6. McGuinn’s essay 5 Things The Current Knew It Had To Do When Prince Died [link] is not only a moving first-hand account of events following Prince’s death, it provides essential reasons why 89.3 The Current matters so much to listeners in the Twin Cities and elsewhere.
Rather than try to paraphrase McGuinn’s essay (again, please read it), other noncom stations, regardless of their format, can implement some of the tactics The Current used covering the story.
The relationship between Prince and The Current was long a deep. Prince publically praised The Current. This gave the station credibility locally and nationally. The Current embraced Prince’s interest in helping new, emerging artists by providing them exposure. When you heard Prince talk on the station, you could feel the trust the notoriously private musician felt.
1. GO LIVE AND BE IN-THE-MOMENT
Following Prince’s sudden death on Thursday, April 21, The Current went wall-to-wall with his music and comments by those who knew him. That evening crowds began gathering in downtown Minneapolis near First Avenue, a club Prince made famous.
The Current and sister NPR News KNOW began live coverage of the scene. The crowd grew to more than ten thousand. An all-night wake spontaneously happened. I sat listening to it at my home but I felt like I was there. The live broadcasts provided a needed catharsis – every fan’s voice counted.
The ability to be live, in-the-moment, on-the-scene is one of radio’s most powerful programming tools. Though there are occasional burps, they don’t matter if the story is urgent. Get out of the studio when you can and become part of the audience – feel it as they feel it.
2. BE A HUB FOR THE COMMUNITY
Listeners to The Current that night knew The Current was in the center of the event. The broadcasts, station website and social media had the essential information which was amplified globally by all sorts of media. The Current quickly set up a web page for folks to share their emotions and leave remembrances of Prince.
3. REMEMBER THAT THE STORY IS NOT ABOUT YOU…
…it is about the music and the people who love it. I never once felt that the coverage was self-promotional. I felt comfortable as a listener unlike the way I sometimes feel when cable news outlets like CNN exploit news for their own benefit.
Well done Jim and everyone at 89.3 The Current!
TRIPLE A STATIONS DO WELL IN THE EARLY APRIL PPM RATINGS
Nielsen Audio has begun releasing estimated listening data for stations in markets measured by PPM. The early results are encouraging for Triple A music stations. WFUV, New York, increased its number of weekly cumulative listeners compared to the previous month by 7%. KKXT, Dallas was up 8%. KCRW had its largest number of weekly listeners in recent memory.
Classical stations also did well: KUSC now has the largest number of weekly listeners to any noncom station in Los Angeles. WQXR’s weekly listeners grew by 3%. WRR and KDFC remained solid.
Here is the data for six of the nation’s biggest markets:
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RRC's limited license with Nielsen Audio.
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