Don’t worry, be happy, it’s RAJAR day…

Today is RAJAR day. To those who’ve never experienced it, welcome to the most stressful 24 hours in the life of a programmer. The results may indicate the success or failure of perhaps a long thought out strategy.

I’ve never liked RAJAR day. I always struggled to sleep beforehand. I even cried once, the numbers were that bad. The stress is difficult because you care so much. It takes over your life. The family are concerned, the dog is worried, it never ends. All we seek is normality.

Once the numbers are in, we can relax. There is nothing we can do about it now, completely ignoring the fact that there was little we could have done about it anyway. If you’re down, it’s hell. No kind words from some well meaning suit is going to make you feel any better. We would rather they just left us alone.

We will of course urgently scan the data hoping for a flicker of good news that we can put in our press release. Oh look, left handed, drug using, beer swilling pony tailed 45 years olds are tuning in more. Result, we have our lead story!

RAJAR can be a cruel. It’s based on years of research that has had its critics, I keep wondering if there is a better system, but there isn’t one as yet. No system is fool proof, no methodology is accurate (are you telling me that the TV Barb figures are correct?) all it offers is an indicator of your programming health.

When you’re up, it’s down to your brilliance. When it’s bad, we look for an explanation, perhaps even someone to blame. That lazy sod on mid-mornings has killed us! If we weren’t networked, he’d be on overnights. How do I explain this to my team? How can I look good while giving bad news!

The reality is that you never win or lose on one quarters survey results; the right way – and the only way – to view these things is on a year-on-year basis. Successful stations grow slowly and those in decline do so at the same speed. Failure is rarely a shock, success is always a nice surprise.

Whatever the results show today can I ask you to adopt the following strategy:

Tell your staff the truth. Good or bad, be brutally honest. If it’s not as good as expected, tell them straight away and then lift them for the challenge ahead. You’re supposed to be a leader so lead.

Please Please Please – don’t issue a press release with dodgy information with worthless figures or facts that make you look ridiculous. If it’s bad just stay silent. You don’t have to say anything. If its good, try not to be too gloating. The next survey is just three months away remember. Social Media often has the facts on line quicker than you do anyway.

Remember your staff have worked hard so make sure you celebrate as a team regardless. Emotion is set by those at the top. So set the level high.

Managers, please remember to mention the weekend team. They are just as important, personally see all of your talent to tell them how they’ve done.  Not telling the presenter their numbers is the act of an idiot and a careless one at that.

Remember to keep it all in perspective. No one has died!

However, one thing that is critical so please pass this blog on to your MD, Manager or whoever it is that is claiming to be in charge.

The biggest insult anyone on the air can receive is when the boss forgets it’s RAJAR day altogether. If that happens, you have my permission to smack ‘em.

11 thoughts on “Don’t worry, be happy, it’s RAJAR day…

  1. One of the best strokes of RAJAR luck was the listener who won a major cash giveaway on Red Rose Gold back in the day. In passing she mentioned that she had this diary about radio to fill in – A RAJAR DIARY ! ..Every hour on the hour we repeated the competition audio complete with all the excited yelling knowing that she wanted to listen again and again … then tick the diary accordingly !

  2. The best Rajar day I’ve ever had was when we launched Real Radio in south Wales with an amazing performance, and today we get the figures for our launch into North and Mid Wales with Real. I don’t expect to get the same result that we had 10+ years ago in south Wales but lets hope its half as good which would still be a great result

  3. As always-spot on! We’ve worn out the carpet pacing up and down over the years. I always remember being told to never gloat, never get too down about!
    Also-if it goes up-have a few beers, go back into work and get on with making great radio.
    And -if it goes down, have a few beers, go back into work and get on with making great radio!
    Good luck everyone!

  4. Great piece, written with empathy…beating yourself, and/or others up over Q on Q figures serves no purpose except to compromise morale which ultimately will prove destructive in the long term despite any strategy you have in place..

    I like the final paragraph too!!

  5. I remember too the turbulent times at the former Marcher Radio Group, when every RAJAR day would be akin to a comedy sketch. So, good or bad, Terry Underhill, myself and a few others would always celebrate with Champagne at The Spinning Wheel just up the road from Terry’s house. It was the ritual, four times a year..

    1. Happy days indeed, tragically The Spinning Wheel has closed down so I will be looking for somewhere else to mark Rajar day!

  6. I recall a Eureka moment loudly and proudly proclaimed by an infamous MD, when during one of the legendary autopsies, threw the Octagon printout on the floor said, “Listen you idiots, that’s all rubbish, all you have to do is multiply the TSL figure by 3 and that’s what your reach is”!! 

  7. I had a PC once who misled me into believing my figures were really low, only to hear some years later that the truth was that they were the highest on the station.
    Hidden agenda or what.

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