COVID-19 Resources


Here are some tools and resources for managing response on and off the air. Stay in touch with weekly updates (each Wednesday) by completing this form.

    CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE ON AND OFF THE AIR

    Find your Voice 

    In This Emergency


    Watch this short video with advice for all stations in all formats to respond and adjust.

    COVID-19 AND YOUR RADIO STATION:

    Best Practices, Now

    • Research Shows Listeners Are Tired Of Hearing About it

      May 4 update: It's time to back off on mentioning the crisis, social distancing, shelter-at-home, and the statistics surrounding COVID-19. Listeners are fatigued, and trying to escape it. They're also sick of the "We're all in this together" advertising and promotion. What should stations do? Reduce topics/talk that start with coronavirus. However, allow it to influence topics listeners are dealing with. Focus on how your audience is impacted, not on the facts and details. Be authentic and connect with listeners to help them get away from the coronavirus noise. 

    • Start Planning Post-Crisis Promotions

      The audience will be ready to get out and experience life. Get in front of it now by planning to be actively involved. And, as unemployment concerns continue, it's a perfect time to launch or re-launch Pay Your Bills.

    • Suspend Or Reduce Traffic Reports

      Traffic on the air is of limited value anyway, but now there's really no traffic to talk about. If you MUST air traffic reports because of contracts or sponsorships, cut it to the bare minimum. 

    • Personalities Performing From Home

      This can be exceptionally hard. Shows are becoming isolated, disconnected and have a hard time staying in touch with listener moods. Use social media to connect with listeners. Take phone calls if possible! Network with other personalities. Stay connected and stay positive. 

    • Play Games On the Air

      Playing games is fun, interactive and gets listeners involved. You don't need prizes, just have fun playing. There are a ton of games and ideas available here

    • Dealing With Lower Audience Interaction

      Phone calls, social media posts, and text messages are down in most places and in most formats. That's okay! Every break should be designed to entertain without depending on listener feedback. By all means, use listener input when it makes sense. Just don't count on listeners being there to fuel content.

    • Switch To Total Line Reporting

       Listeners are home and listening on smart speakers or online streams is way up. Make sure to get ratings credit! That only happens for stations using Total Line Reporting to Nielsen. And if you have a smart speaker "skill", make sure to promote it so listeners know how to turn it on.

    • What About Features?

      Think through the value of each feature. Does it make sense in today's environment? A prank call to a tire store probably doesn't make sense in states with Shelter-In-Place orders. Second Date Update about meeting at a movie or concert is virtually impossible in most locations. Re-think the scenarios. Be creative. Or, this may be one of the few times to consider setting up the segment by introducing it as a "Classic" or "Replay". Some stations are even letting listeners request a favorite episode from the past and celebrating the replays.

    • Be Who You Are

      If you’re a news station, be great in covering the story from all angles. But if news is not a reason for coming to your station or show, don’t suddenly try to be the news station. It’s not what you’re for. And the more you try to be a news station, the less relevant your station becomes. Listeners have a place to go for updates. However, that doesn’t mean to ignore the topic.

    • News Coverage

      Every station should communicate with listeners based on their brand values. But that doesn't mean every station should add a newscast. It doesn't make sense for a lot of stations, especially music stations. Don't suddenly try to become the news authority if it's now what your station is for. Don't ignore the crisis, but you don't have to break the infromation.

    • Good News

      This is a time most listeners could use some good news. You can provide it. Mr. Rogers called it "looking for the helpers". If you're not already doing a Good News feature, this would be a great time to do it. Here's details on how to pull it off

    • Be Local

      I've always advised that being great is more important that being local. But being local is more important now than ever. You may not be the authority for breaking news, but you can tell local stories and relate how this is affecting your audience better than anyone. Find unique stories, then connect with stories. Watch how the TV networks do it. CNBC focuses on the financial aspect. ESPN is locked in on how it affects sports and athletes. CNN is round-the-clock full coverage of breaking news. Maybe your angle is simply finding positive stories and comforting listeners looking to get away from the anxiety and stress.

    • Stay Calm

      Nobody wants to hear a hysterical, panicked broadcaster. There will be some emotional moments. Just be sure to collect yourself and avoid being emotional in presentation. Speaking of being calm, make adjustments to help the audience de-stress a bit when they tune in. 

    • Adjust Personality, But Don't Change

      If you’re a fun, upbeat, positive air talent, be who you are. If you’re funny, be funny. Don’t joke about important, life-threatening facts. But find ways to show who you are. You may need to back off some aspects of your personality profile and accent other traits. A little less edge and a little more smile works well right now. The morning show on CHFM/Calgary is Mookie, Billie Jo and Lori. Lori's a comedian, and told me her approach is to:
      "Find humor in the end of the world because it helps us cope."

    • Contests, Promotions & Games

      Some stations have suspended contests and promotions, which is a good idea, at least for now. You're not going to be able to promote or contest your way to higher ratings in this time period. And whatever you do, don't run a contest that requires listeners to pick up their prize! Have fun with listeners. Remember, the biggest reason most turn on the radio is to be put in a better mood!

    • Revisit Imaging & Promos

      Listeners are on edge, stressed and anxious. This would be a good time to adjust production elements to remove some of the hype and claims that won't resonate right now. Reflect the mood by adjusting station personality without changing it. Use more personality voices and less voice-over imaging (a good idea even without the current situation). We have examples and ideas for this in the COVID-19 Prep page at www.PersonalityMagnet.com. Get a free one-week trial to access.

    • Don't Perform For Ratings

      This is going to be a very difficult ratings period, unless you’re the news station in the market. I also believe Christian stations will do extremely well in this period. But for everyone else, radio listening overall is likely to be lower since there will be fewer cars on the road, and most listening takes place in cars. And, with many folks working from home, TSL is going to suffer on stations specializing in at work listening. The exception is news stations: Listening will be up. And with overall listening down, their shares will skyrocket.There’s not much you can do about this reality. However, you can be authentic, be yourself and connect with fans in deeper ways. 

    • Look For The Parade & Be Part Of It

      This promotion concept is to find a movement or idea that is happening in the community and being a part of it. The same theory applies now. In fact, it's time to double down on community involvement. Look for ways to make a difference in your city, community and neighborhoods. And tell those stories to make a difference.

    • Music & Content Adjustements

      In times of anxiety and stress, listeners are drawn to the familiar and nostalgic. Consider playing slightly less new and unfamiliar music and more proven, mass appeal hits. This is a  good time to consider changing the music mix for slightly more oldies. The same with topics and content. Nostalgic topics will work very well right now.

    • Take Action

      Don't just stand there. Do something. Be proactive. Your exact course of action is your own. Nobody can tell you exactly what is right for your station in your market. This story changes quickly. Stay on top of it and reflect your audience.

    FREE EBOOK

    DEALING WITH TRAGEDY & EMERGENCIES


    How to program and perform on the air in time of emergency.

    Daily Curated Show Prep Services

    Personality Magnet

    Show Prep


    Constantly updated ideas, promotions and topics for personalities and stations in all formats.

    • COVID-19 Show Prep Page, loaded with current topics and ideas to connect with your listeners.

    • Topics & Ideas, with tips and unique angles, all curated and prepared for your show.

    WHERE TO GATHER NEWS & INFORMATION

    Reliable Sources


    Here are recommended sources for updated information. Click on each for the latest information from the source.


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