2D – Flipping Format

Flipping radio formats. Photo of boy flipping in the air by Joe Pizzio.

The “why’s” of a station flip are simple: It’s always about the bottom line. If ratings are low, if growth in listeners is slow (or shrinking), if the station isn’t making enough according to the Powers That Be, or if a there’s a promising niche currently unfulfilled locally, it might be time for a format change.

It is often a monumental gamble that burns bridges with listeners, advertisers, and employees. Not all on-air talent is suited for the new format and have to be replaced (fired). Listeners, enraged that their station and/or favorite on-air talent are gone without warning, will send futile emails by the hundreds, rage on social media, and start online petitions to boycott the “new” station. Advertisers will be cautious about a station that has, overnight, become an unproven start-up.

Is the marketing budget big enough to support a re-launch? How/where will it be executed? TV? Streaming networks? Billboards? Who will stay and who will go? How many listeners can be retained? How can new listeners be attracted? What makes the new format different from the competition?

In this assignment, you will answer these questions by executing an imaginary Station Format Change (Flip). Which format were you before? Which format are you transitioning to? Who is your competition? Who is getting fired? How will you appeal to listeners, old and new? Provide examples of marketing (visual ads, a video and/or audio promos).

Top 10 Station Formats (in order of popularity)

  1. News/Talk
  2. Adult Contemporary
  3. Country
  4. Pop CHR
  5. Classic Hits
  6. Hot AC
  7. Classic Rock
  8. Urban AC
  9. All Sports
  10. Urban Contemporary