Real-time programming, by Paul Kaye


By Paul Kaye

PSR Contributor

April 24, 2018


Real-time programming


The mission for Radio is simple (but not easy) “create compelling content and relevant brands.” Over the last few weeks we have been reminded of the importance of needing to “program in real time not on our own time” in order to be relevant. When something happens that is of importance or interest to your audience you need to reflect it. In the moment. This Second. Now! In our digitally connected world access to information is instantantenous for our audiences and our brands need to be ready to react immediately. In today’s world the speed of our reaction is imperative, we no longer have the luxury of time that maybe we once did. Brands that aren’t able to respond in the moment will become increasingly irrelevant to audiences.

In Canada, radio teams were sensational at reacting to the Humboldt Broncos bus crash, a tragedy in which 16 people died. The following weekend extreme weather hit many parts of the Country requiring programmers to abandon their plans and supply much needed information to communities disruopted by the weather. Both events needed radio to live up to the mantra of “program in real time not on our own time’.

Last Friday, Avicii passed away suddenly and again we saw the need for radio to “program in real time”. I just happened to be listening to a CHR competitor as the news broke and was impressed at how quickly they announced the news, had imaging on the air and built a tribute mix. It was unfolding within minutes of the news breaking, they were reacting equally as quickly as any other outlet. They weren’t alone as many stations had tribute imaging on the air, increased their Avicii spins, re cut mix shows and created compelling digital content. None of the programmers that responded had “plan for Avicii’s sudden passing” on their to do list when they started their workday but the smartest programmers know their is nothing more important than being part of the conversation their audience is having. You have to do something. You need to act. Often that means sacrificing what else was on the to do list or even personal time.

A quick run of BDS (in Canada) on Sunday morning showed that there was a flurry of programmers changing their programming to reflect the news. Across CHR there were 10 Avicii songs seeing an increase in spins. 8 of those 10 songs weren’t spun at all the week before.

As programmers our goal should always be to “program in real time”. We need to make sure our brands are ready to inject themselves into the conversation our audience is having, and to make sure we add something of value to that dialogue. Consumers expect nothing less.


Paul Kaye is Vice President, Product and Talent Development for Rogers in Canada.  Paul spends his days working with stations and talent across all formats with a sole focus on helping improve performance and growing the business.  Prior to being at Rogers Paul held the role of National Talent Development Director for Newcap Radio and also a Group Programming role in England.  Paul is a certified coach and is passionate about helping individuals, teams and organizations reach their greatest potential, which is the fuel behind his other project The Talent Lab. Paul lives in Toronto with his wife, 2 dogs and a cat – life is never quiet!  You can reach Paul at **@th**********.co



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