When a radio show comes to us for advice about syndication, we share lessons from coaching The Bert Show, Tino Cochino Radio, Two Guys Named Chris, the talent at K-Love and others.
First, you should know that syndication as a cost-cutting tactic alone is not effective. Stop right now if that is your driving motivation. And you know what every single person at every single syndicated show tells us? We were really surprised how challenge it was to start up.
However, some shows are just too good for one market. If your show consistently outperforms the station in ratings, consider these tips on creating regional or national success.
Your show is brand-new forever. The audience knows you in your home market, but every new city you enter is a climb up from zero. Make every segment accessible for the constant influx of listeners hearing the show for the first time on newly-added stations.
Focus on things like re-explaining benchmarks clearly, name-checking all on-mic players in every segment and air only common-ground topics that relate to large audiences. Elvis Duran is a great example of new listener accessibility.
Staff up. Multi-tasking is a necessity for local hosts but syndicated shows must delegate so they can focus on content ideas, execution and planning. Hire a producer, phone screener, specialists to produce video, social media managers and hire someone full time to sell the show to new prospects.
Limit who gets a microphone. Producers, phone-screeners and assistants often add little to the show while taking valuable airtime meant for key players. Instead, introduce secondary voices for specific moments in the show, then turn off that mic. Syndicated shows also get more access to guest interviews which can be a PPM-killer if not executed well. Instead, consider doing social media video interviews and play short audio clips on the air.
Own the clock. Producing a great program is no good if it does not air as intended at local stations. Problems like clumping talk content or long stretches with no show. Failing to brand the show with produced imaging or overdoing it. Take control of coordinating what will go over the air before it leaves your studio.
Go only where you belong. Suppose you have an edgy CHR show and a country station loves it and has to have it. Adding an affiliate is tempting, but say no. Failure consumes time and energy and keeping your score in the loss column low makes the show more marketable.
Final tip: what is even hotter than syndication? Podcasting. There is growing demand from advertisers for on-demand audio, and today’s audiences expect the convenience of hearing their favorite show when they want and how they want.