It happens to every radio station, and chances are, it’s going on right now at yours. Clutter Creep happens, little by little. Over time, the station is full of stuff that doesn’t need to be there. That’s why I recommend program directors step back and re-evaluate everything on the air regularly. Zero Based Programming is a useful tool to fix small programming problems before they become big ones.

At home, stuff gathers in the attic, basement, closet and garageAfter awhile, it crowds out the things you really need and want. But the good stuff is hard to find. Clutter prevents us from getting to what we need.

The cause of clutter creep is a tendency to hang onto everything past the expiration date. Old items are replaced, but not discarded. And they just pile up.

The same thing happens on the air.

Stations Become Cluttered Quickly

Maintaining a clean radio station is a critical step in managing a brand. Over time, it’s natural to get sloppy.

You know how it happens, right? The station starts off clean and tight. Then a weekend promotion is scheduled, and a few extra promos are added.

When sales needs an appearance, weekend promos are switched into sales promos. Another weekend promotion is added, and more promos come on.

Or the morning show has a great idea for a series of positioning promos. The PD loves it, and it goes on the air…in addition to what’s already there.

It happens in the music library. As songs pile up in the recurrent category, weaker songs are rotated with the real hits. It’s hard to recognize because it builds up little by little.

A new feature comes on the air and we like it, but it’s added to what’s already on. Nothing comes off.

None of it is horrible. Most of it is fine. But together, clutter prevents listeners from understanding the brand. And when they don’t understand it, they don’t use it as much.

The cure is Zero Based Programming.

Zero Based Programming

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