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.