What you do or don’t do all year long matters when it comes to your fundraiser. I suppose if you are a for-profit station, then ratings are the factor that drives your programming and rightfully so. If you’re a non-profit station and you rely on ratings and that is what drives your programming 100 percent, I would say you have the wrong business model. At the end of the day, your listeners will determine if your programming is worth a donation.
Let me explain more. I’ve seen stations with a cume that is amazing and yet when they go to fundraising, they can hardly get enough donations to stay on the air. At the end of the day, they have a ton of people listening that they never connected with and don’t feel the station is worth investing in. Yet, I’ve been to stations that have a much smaller cume and their listeners are standing in line and cannot wait to give. Here’s a great example, station A has a 200,000 cume and station B has a 70,000 cume. Station A raises $100,000 during their fundraiser and station B with the much smaller cume raises $750,000 during their fundraiser. What’s the difference. Station B has connected with its audience on a much deeper level providing more value.
Everyone wants the largest listenership they can possibly have and there is nothing wrong with that. If your programming is not connecting with the listener, it won’t turn into a donation. In some ways, I believe your fundraiser is a better report card than your ratings if you are a non-profit station.
If your Dj’s are not a friend to your listener, then you are not connecting. If your listeners cannot name your announcers when you do surveys, you may have missed the mark. The music you play can now be heard anywhere. If you are convinced that music is your product, you will lose. I think you have to be an amazing station with great personalities, a great community and a station that provides value to your listener’s lifestyle and yes, you happen to play the music they like.
Listeners are not coming to your station because they thought you were a mainstream station. If they are a new listener, they don’t know the artists, they have come because it’s hope and encouragement they are searching for. Let’s go deep and provide, prayer, hope, music that enforces that but also announcers that can speak into their lives through laughter, spiritual content and being a friend that many so desperately need.
What you do on and off the air counts. I love that WGTS has free ice cream stops in DC and thousands show up when they arrive. They have a free concert series during the summer, again thousands are showing up. When you go to a concert, you see WGTS showing up with their prayer tent praying over their listeners. Trust me, when it comes time for their fundraiser, listeners are ready to give because they have found great value in WGTS.