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Getting The Most Out of Your Syndicated Products

AMARILLO KIDS 2Kids in Amarillo, TX get an unexpected treat when R Dub rolls through with Slow Jam prizes for everyone

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5 simple tips on how to get more from your syndicated programming

R Dub! – Sunday Night Slow Jams / Fusion Radio Networks
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As a Program Director myself, I understand the need to make every hour on your radio station sound local: like your city and like your brand. Here are a few simple tricks and tips to get the most out of not just Sunday Night Slow Jams, but any other syndicated product you run.

#1: Insert local imaging inside the show
Own the show! In the case of Sunday Nite Slow Jams (and most long form shows), at the start of every segment–and inside each segment–there are spots to run your local, dry imaging, over the show. Utilize them! If the show runs in automation (without a board op) and you don’t have the manpower to “produce” the show with local imaging throughout, at the very least, create some local “bookends”—These are out-of-stopset rejoiners and into stopset “we’ll be back” sweepers, that localize the show and tie it back into your station. You can load these into your automation system and your music scheduling “clocks,” and let them run and rotate themselves. It takes a few minutes up front, but once you’ve got ’em all loaded in, you’re set!

I even like to have special “remote opens” from the syndicated host, in case we have a live broadcast going on during the show. For example, we were doing a club night every Friday night while we ran The Baka Boyz syndicated show, so I had remote opens produced with The Baka Boyz saying something like, “Yo, it’s The Baka Boyz and more of The Friday Nite Master Mix is comin’ up, but first, we gotta see what’s goin’ down at DV8 with Rico—yo Rico, what’s goin’ on out there tonight???” I had the Baka Boyz do about 20 that rotated. It REALLY made it sound like they were live and local!

*the extra mile: If you can, assign production of the show to someone specific in the building. Have them dump the raw show into Adobe Audition (or whatever system you use) and then lay the local imaging throughout the show, utilizing all the local “breaks” throughout each segment. You may even insert the host saying your station name in front of each break he does in the show, making it sound like every break is local and coming direct from your studio. A couple of my stations do this and it sounds amazing!

#2: Use The Host!
Make sure you are sending voice work and liners to the syndicated host to run with the show: Rejoins, in-show liners, station ID’s, etc. Along with your voice guy, use the show’s host to intertwine the show into your station and vice versa. Send him lines that make him sound like he is one of the team members—NOT a guy in L.A. or New York. These shouldn’t sound like artist drops. And if you can, send the host liners about your major book promotions, and run those over the show too. That will REALLY make it sound like he is your own.

Email me a list of drops and I’d be glad to read them for you…as many as you need, as often as you like.

*the extra mile: Bring the syndicated personality to your station events. Consider having him/her down, at least once a year, for your station’s big annual event (Summer Jam, Birthday Bash, etc.). Put him on stage, with the rest of the jocks, to help emcee the show and meet listeners.

#3: Cross Promote
This is probably the easiest, and most UNDER-USED technique in helping any show (local or syndicated) succeed. Simply TALK ABOUT THE SHOW on-air! From jock liners to recorded promos—many stations forget to sell their own products, including syndicated shows. A good rule of thumb I always use as a PD is to make sure jocks are doing at least one “cross-promote” an hour. It’s like free advertising…why wouldn’t you utilize it?

*the extra mile: Randomly, now and again, have jocks mention the syndicated personality in question, as if he or she has a relationship with the host—whether it’s something like “Man, thanks for coming out to Club BeeBop last night, it was a great event—even R Dub was gettin’ his party on in the V.I.P. room,” etc. Or, “The Baka Boyz just walked in the building, getting ready for their show at 8 o’clock, and man do those guys look like they partied it up last night at Summer Jam!” This will really make it sound like the syndicated host is part of the station, and the community. Total Theatre of the Mind stuff here.

#4: Online Presence
List your syndicated talent on your website and “jock menu” just as if they are working in the building and on your payroll. Create a local “bio” page for them just like your local DJ’s have, and add as much local flavor to their page and their bio—even if you’re making stuff up! Here’s a fun trick: List their favorite local restaurants and hangouts, and include a few sentences in their bio that would make listeners think they live in your city! Incorporate your syndicate hosts within your social media strategies, and include pictures and even videos of the host talking about your station!

You can find pics of R Dub, Slow Jams logos, and more, here.

*the extra mile: When your syndicated talent is in town, take a ton of pictures of them at famous local landmarks (parks, the local restaurant everyone knows, at the biggest high school in town, the college, in-studio, and driving the station van) then post on social media and on your website: their page, their personal photo gallery, the station’s photo gallery).

#5: SUPER IMPORTANT: Make Sure You’re Not Running Old Shows
This one is a doosie. I’ve had a couple stations run the exact same episode of Slow Jams for 17 weeks in a row. No one was loading the new show, and the old one kept repeating, week after week.  Oh, the horror! I know that being a PD in 2016 is more challenging than ever, and like me, you probably have bigger fish to fry than loading in weekend syndicated shows. If you have the manpower, designate the task of “syndication” to a member of your team at the station. At my station, I have one of my part-timers do this. He is 100% responsible for making sure our national shows have arrived and are loaded correctly into our automation system. He knows this is his responsibility and takes the time to make sure everything is all set.

Actually, now that we’re on the subject–do you mind taking a quick moment and checking to make sure that new shows have been airing on your station?

BONUS: Create a Sponsorship Package for Slow Jams
I have a handful of stations that generate some really good NTR money through Slow Jams sponsorships. If your station is like most, Slow Jams is one of your highest rated shows. Put together a sales package to have the show sponsored by a client. I’d be glad to voice the tags/mentions for you!

about the author: By night R Dub! hosts Slow Jams and by day he is Director of Programming for San Diego’s Z90 and Magic 92.5. He is just as committed to helping your station win as he is his own.