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SYNDICATION 101... Broadcast Dayparts

Once your show-length is defined, and especially if you are on satellite, you have to determine what daypart you are going to be targeting. Even if you are on CD, if your clearances are scattered across all dayparts you will have a tough time matching the show to the mood, not to mention a tough time estimating audience count for sponsors. And speaking of audience, the difficulty in clearing new dayparts is proportional to the number of listeners in the dayparts. Here are the points to remember about each daypart, starting from easier, to more difficult...

OVERNIGHTS: (Mid to 6am) This period has the least listeners, and thus it is in the least demand by advertisers and syndicated shows. If you are trying to clear a longform show (1/2 hour or longer), you will have the easiest time doing it here. If accumulating call letters in a fast manner is more important to your show than how many listeners you have, or if you are syndicating for the first time, then you might consider overnights.

WEEKENDS: Saturdays and Sundays are great for certain longform show topics, and this is good since weekends clear much easier than weekdays (and weekend overnights are the very easiest.) Weekend days are popular targets for weekly shows, so these midday portions of Saturday and Sunday are sometimes difficult to clear. And weekends, of course, cannot reach the same audience on a daily basis like weekdays can.

EVENINGS: (7pm to mid) The next higher level of listeners (and difficulty in clearing) is evenings. Evenings tend to carry a younger audience (even on the same stations), especially college students. News and talks stations will be more available here than music stations will be.

MIDDAYS: (10am to 3pm) Next up on the scale of the number of listeners is middays. This daypart tends to skew older, and better with the office crowd. News and talk stations can be difficult clearing here, since they are targeting more upscale professionals at work. Middays also tend to be the highest rated daypart for AC stations (because of the office listening.)

AFTERNOON (or PM) DRIVE: (3pm to 7pm) School kids and their parents who drive them are heading home around the 3pm hour, and office workers start heading home at 5pm, so this daypart has the second highest number of listeners; afternoon drive can be very difficult to clear. Since many stations are trying to keep listeners informed of weather and traffic at this time, it's going to be very tough for a new show/host with a longform show to be cleared in PM drive. A vignette in this daypart starts becoming a necessity.

MORNING (or AM) DRIVE: (6am to 10am) This is the number one period for listeners, since everyone is heading to school and work at the same. Morning drive is the most critical daypart for almost every station, and most of the ad dollars are taken in here. The highest paid talent is on the air, and most of the weather and traffic reports occur here. And for some stations, morning drive is the ONLY daypart that is live... the rest of their 24 hour period is syndicated.

This all adds up to an extremely difficult time to clear a show of any time (long or shortform) in this daypart, let alone a show/host that is new. If morning drive must be had, you almost have to start with vignettes on un-rated stations in tiny towns, and maintain a long campaign so as to give yourself plenty of time to replace parts of the stations' coveted morning shows.

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