Ask R Dub: Questions and Answers.

After you’ve read the book, ask R Dub! your questions in the comment section below and he’ll respond.

Did you see something in the book you didn’t understand?

Want R Dub! to expand on one of the books stories, subjects or steps?

Have a completely random question about syndication?

Just ask, below!

R Dub! also offers private, one-on-one consultation services for both radio personalities and radio stations. Ask me how!

There Are 21 Comments

  • R Dub!8-12-2020

    Why is R Dub! so handsome?

    • R Dub!8-12-2020

      Maybe it’s Maybelline?

  • Dean9-1-2020

    What ifs the difference between FM and HD?

    • R Dub!9-1-2020

      HD “side channels” can only be heard on special HD radios. Virtually no one owns these “HD radios” at home (the launch of HD radio over a decade ago was an embarrassing flop), however, many higher-end, newer cars come with HD tuners in the dash – so people in these cars can technically hear your show, *if* (and that’s a big “if” they even know that HD “side channels” exist.

      HD radio is actually very cool and it’s a shame it wasn’t marketed correctly. It never took off and virtually no regular person (non-radio person) has any clue what “HD radio” even is. Literally, the worst launch of anything…ever! But it’s a cool product that allows frequencies to have one or more “side” channels, usually with commercial free, narrower (more niche) programming.

      So how would one listen to an HD side channel? On an HD tuner you could have 104.7 HD1 (the station’s main frequency), then turn the knob and the next frequency would be 104.7 HD2, 104.7 HD3, and so on, with each one am entirely different radio station. Kinda cool! I encourage you to find a car with an HD radio and see how it works.

      Sadly, I don’t know of ANY HD “side channels” (HD2, HD3, etc.) with ANY ratings whatsoever. Literally none. Not even a .1. So, although it definitely won’t “hurt” to be on an HD side channel, don’t expect even a penny of revenue for it.

  • Matt9-3-2020

    Obviously getting your show on bigger stations with strong market reach is a positive. However, before a syndication deal, will having your show run on stations in non-rated markets help you? Ex. You have 2 medium markets on the air, and 10 small markets. Do the 10 small markets have any impact aside from saying “we have 12 stations total?”

    • R Dub!9-3-2020

      As long as the station(s) is in a “rated” market and has more AQH than zero, it can all add up, no matter how “small” those markets are. However, “unrated” is a totally different ballgame. Syndicators–who are running a “business”–will not see the value in even 500 affiliates, if they are all in non-rated markets, because 500 affiliates in 500 unrated markets all equal zero dollars. So small, “rated” markets are great…but anything in an “unrated” market will generate zero traditional spot revenue.

      Side note: I never mind giving away my show to unrated markets. I’m on in places like Rosebud, South Dakota; Ruidoso, New Mexico; Berlin, New Hampshire; etc. I just go in knowing that these stations are not adding to my revenue. I enjoy being on in little towns all over America in addition to the bigger markets, of course.

  • Annaliese9-12-2020

    Is it possible for someone to start a new show (in hopes of getting syndicated) if they currently work in a small, unrated market? Or would the better course of action be to save the ideas they have until they’re working somewhere a little bigger (because of the ratings/advertiser factor)?
    And if the show idea doesn’t fit the station you’re currently on (or any in your cluster), is it better to save those ideas again for a future job, or try to tweak your idea into a different format so you can start it where you work?

    • R Dub!9-12-2020

      You could absolutely begin the local version of your show in an un-rated market, however you’d only be able to start (and complete) Step Two (Audience Measurement) once you’re on the air in a rated market. Remember, Step Two is all about getting a ratings story – and there are so many steps after that, but (in most cases) you really need a ratings story to pass Step Two.

  • Scott12-1-2020

    I may have missed this in the book but when working on the clock do you assume a 50-50 national/local split as far as timing the show goes? For example for Slow Jams you said you run 5 minutes per hour do you base the timing of your show on the local station running 5 minutes as well?

    • R Dub!2-7-2021

      Great question! I run 5 minutes national and allow for 7 minutes of local. It’s never going to be perfect for everyone, but this recipe has seemed to work so far!

  • Malone2-6-2021

    Hi, R Dub…. Enjoyed the book and just got my first affiliate for a short segment (yay!). Thank you so much! Not sure how the affidavits work when I am self-syndicating. Do I need to provide them to the stations, and do you have a sample I can look at? And… My program is only a :60 segment. How do I tell a ratings story with that? Do I have way to tell a different “story”? Thank you!!!!! -Malone

    • R Dub!2-7-2021

      Great questions, and WOW! Congrats on your first affiliate, that’s awesome! Are you currently running any spots/barter/commercials on your show? If not, then affidavits aren’t really necessary. The one thing sending them now would do is get your affiliates in the habit of filling them out every week – so when you DO get picked up by a network, it won’t be a big shock to them. I didn’t have my affiliates fill out ANY affidavits until I was picked up by a network – by then I had 27 stations already. Candidly, I probably wouldn’t worry about messing with “affi’s” AT ALL unless you really have to. It will save you AND your affiliate work! Let your network handle it when you get picked up.

      Another great question about the “short form” ratings story. Definitely tougher to show a ratings story. One option is to track the station’s overall ratings or the daypart when they run your :60. If the number goes up, you can take credit! But it is much less scientific. So what I’m trying to say, is that if the station’s overall numbers go up – take credit for it! If they go down, don’t worry about it, because it’s not due to your short :60. Does that make sense? You can beef up on PD “endorsements.” Have them give you some quotes about your feature and how it sounds on their station. I hope this helps!

  • Scott Evans2-19-2021

    When reaching out to new potential stations, especially when there is not already a personal relationship established, what is the best method to reach the PD? Email, phone, or old school mail with promotional materials?

    • R Dub!2-27-2021

      Every PD is different: Check out CHAPTER 8 and read each PD’s interview. One of the questions I ask all of them, is HOW they prefer to be contacted. You’ll see most say email, however, there are PDs like Ron Stone who insist you call and introduce yourself first. So, it truly does vary!

  • Pete G4-7-2021

    First and foremost: GREAT BOOK! I’m on the hands-on production end of things and definitely NOT the syndication end, so trying to get into it is a daunting task. Thanks for being there for those of us trying to crack open the door!
    Okay, so here’s the question: How do I definitively determine if a specific station is in a rated market if all I know is the station’s call letters/city? It’s easy enough if it’s WABC in NY, but if it’s WNBY in Newberry, MI (which has a 50KW transmitter, so it’s not Podunk) or WWSE in Jamestown, NY (26.5KW) how do I tell? Is there a searchable database that doesn’t require an expensive subscription? (It’d be nice if I could determine AQH at the same time). I’m trying to convert a list of stations that have expressed interest in our show into an action plan based on what’s in a useful market. Closest I’ve found is https://tlr.arbitron.com/tlr/public/market.do?method=loadMarketsForState but that requires already knowing which market and only lists stations that subscribe to Neilson.
    Thanks in advance for any insight!

    • R Dub!4-7-2021

      So glad you are enjoying the book, Pete! These are GREAT questions, I indeed missed this area in my book, so thank you for asking here.

      There are a few websites, including Nielsen’s, that keep tabs on rated markets. I found this one just now: https://mediatracks.com/resources/nielsen-dma-rankings-2020/

      Searching and finding updated market lists and ranks is easy, because Nielsen makes that info public.

      Next, try raidolocator.com and search by call letters. My favorite thing to use radiolocator for is to see the wattage and coverage of stations I am on, or trying to get on. It’s a really cool feature, and free!

      Finally, visit allaccess.com and click their RATINGS tab for station 6+ ratings.

      The three sources above can give you a general idea as to if you’re collecting any AQH (audience) or not in an affiliate(s).

      Once you’re signed on to a syndication company – they’re the guys that subscribe to the expensive reports and services and can pull exact AQH, by hour and demo. That’s the info not available online to the public.

      Let me know if you need anything else.

  • Pete G4-9-2021

    Hi R Dub,
    Thanks for your answer to my previous questions. I’m still trying to understand how to evaluate stations to launch on, so let me use some specific examples.
    WMEX is a 10,000 watt station in the Boston market (its actually in Quincey). But it seems that WMEX doesn’t subscribe to Neilsen or Eastlan and therefore isn’t rated. Does that mean WMEX should be avoided because airing there would lock a show out of a rated station like WROR, WZLX or WBOS, all of which are RATED Boston-market stations? (For our example let’s assume WMEX has ASKED to run the show, while the other stations would be cold calls)? OR is there some value in airing on WMEX because it’s a powerful station in Boston? If it’s not rated, how does one tell?
    Then there’s WKDK, a 1,000 watt station in Newberry, South Carolina. I can’t see what market it would be in and it’s not listed with either service. I need to determine if running on it would be a benefit, neutral, or a liability to be avoided. I THINK it’s neutral: I THINK it’s in an unrated market where it wouldn’t conflict with anything. Again, it has ASKED to run the show.
    I have more than 50 stations to evaluate in this way. I’ve already found a number that are definitely rated. But I’ve got to figure out the remaining fifty or so.
    Life was so much easier when all we had to do was produce the content and someone else worried about this part!
    Thanks for all you do for this community.

    • R Dub!4-14-2021

      I think having more than one option in a given market is a rare luxury – how nice it would be to have these problems! Remember, for now, you are simply doing a big, (quick if you can), land-grab to get on as many stations as you can, with the goal of being able to bring substantial AQH to syndicators and get a good deal. You’ll be able to tell if the station is rated by viewing the ratings (free) on AllAccess.com. You are right – WMEX is not part of the ratings. I’ve got a call in to Chachi at Benztown to ask how a show makes money in these situations. I’ll be back.

      In general, I wouldn’t be too worried, or spend too much time on this in your initial launch. Maybe a good rule of thumb might be: if it’s NOT a rated station (which you can easily find out), you give yourself an easier “out,” so you can always move if you get interested from a rated station. I’m a fan of full transparency and always doing the right thing – so always best to be upfront about your concerns and intentions. Being on an UNRATED station in Boston still has its benefits – it’s a great selling point to other stations in the region…with the thinking, “Well, it’s on in BOSTON, and we look up that market – so it’s a safe bet for US!”

  • Pete G4-14-2021

    Got it and thanks – definitely what to hear what Chachi at Benztown says, because understanding this stuff is important. Anyway – we’re all-out landing as many as we can! 🙂

  • Adrian5-5-2021

    Hey Randy! Love the book!
    When you were starting, how did you handle affiliate relations & Ad Sales ?

    -Was someone selling ads for you from the time your show started? Or did you sign stations to barter deals, they started airing the show, and then you started airing ads at a much later date when the show was picked up by a syndicator?

    One issue I’m having is the chicken/egg scenario, where I don’t have enough affiliates to get syndicated through a big syndicator, but I can’t get advertisers unless I’m with a big syndicator… or can I?

    Do you just essentially do a show for free (with no spots) in the beginning until a syndicator picks you up 20 stations down the line?

    -Also, what method would you recommend for distributing a content only show in the beginning? I’ve found some stations can pull files out of dropbox, but some automations aren’t equipped to do that automatically. Ideally, the show will eventually run on Mr. Master because it sounds glorious.

    Thanks for your time Randy, I really appreciate it.

    • R Dub!5-5-2021

      Great to hear from you. As there is not a “one size fits all,” I’m happy to elaborate on my story and I do believe–as the book spells out–this method will work in most, if not all cases.

      Here are the answers…

      Q. When you were starting, how did you handle affiliate relations & Ad Sales? Was someone selling ads for you from the time your show started? Or did you sign stations to barter deals, they started airing the show, and then you started airing ads at a much later date when the show was picked up by a syndicator?

      A. As the book details, when I first started, I was handling affiliate relations 100% on my own. Give a re-read to STEPS 4-6.

      There were almost ZERO ad sales when I started. I had literally 2 local/regional clients who I sold some airtime to, for a few hundred dollars, which was really nice to help with costs…but all my concentration and focus was spent on getting my show on as many affiliates as possible. You have to bypass the pennies to find the quarters – meaning, focus on garnering a big affiliate list (more AQH), which will get you the real $$$ from the agencies, once your show is represented. AQH = money! There are huge spot “clearing houses” that will sell the hell outta your AQH without you doing anything (except putting out a great product!) Don’t waste time going after a hundred dollars here and there for ads. See page 104. And yes, exactly, regarding commercials at a later date…stations loved an ad-free show and knew that eventually I’d have spots in my show.

      Q. One issue I’m having is the chicken/egg scenario, where I don’t have enough affiliates to get syndicated through a big syndicator, but I can’t get advertisers unless I’m with a big syndicator… or can I?

      A. I encourage you to ONLY worry about a giant land-grab of affiliates – as many as you can pile up. Don’t worry about advertising at ALL! See page 35 and 104 NOW! Your main goal – I sound like a broken record – is to stack up as many affiliates and audience (AQH) as you can. That will translate into a syndication deal which will translate to your show’s inventory (ads) being sold…almost instantly if the audience is there.

      Q. Do you just essentially do a show for free (with no spots) in the beginning until a syndicator picks you up 20 stations down the line?

      A. 1000000000% correct. You nailed it. That’s all outlined, in detail, in the book; specifically Chapter 3.

      Q. Also, what method would you recommend for distributing a content only show in the beginning? I’ve found some stations can pull files out of dropbox, but some automations aren’t equipped to do that automatically. Ideally, the show will eventually run on Mr. Master because it sounds glorious.

      A. Dropbox is the norm for free/cheap distribution. You can always call Mr. Master and see what they can do for you, although it may be out of budget.

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