Afternoon Drive

By Andy Beaubien, BPR

A station’s breakfast program has long been a focal point for radio stations around the globe. A lot of time and resources have been devoted to making breakfast the station’s star attraction and for good reason. A station with a large audience at breakfast can potentially transfer its listeners to other day parts.  A station with a poorly rated breakfast program may find itself at a disadvantage for the rest of the day.

In terms of listener lifestyle, morning and afternoon drive times have unique similarities. Sunrise and sunset have always been considered the beginning and the end of the day. For many people what begins in the early mornings comes to a natural conclusion in late afternoon/ early evening. Whether a person is working at a job, going to school, or simply staying at home, the pattern is generally the same. Evenings are set apart.

Breakfast and afternoon drive listeners have similar interests. The term “drive” as applied to these day parts implies that listeners are in motion. In car listening peaks in these hours. During the so-called workday hours, most listeners are occupied with work and other pursuits and radio listening tends to be a background activity. Breakfast and late afternoon/ early evening are different.

Although the second most important daypart is afternoon drive, it is often treated like just another day part. Several of our client stations have had tremendous success turning afternoon drive into something more than just music and a single presenter executing the format. Afternoon drive needs to be in line with listener needs and expectations.

Although music is important in afternoon drive, it is not the only priority. Listeners need news, weather, and sport information. Traffic reports are just as important in afternoons as they are in the morning. A successful afternoon drive program requires a team of presenters who are interesting, personable, and friendly. The team may consist of two or more individuals. Each person has a specific role such as moderator, news presenter, traffic reporter, etc.

The pacing of afternoon drive should be somewhat faster than breakfast. The dynamic of afternoon drive is a bit more immediate and less relaxed than its morning counterpart. Benchmark features are appropriate, but they need to be short and concise.

Afternoon drive programs have a wave-like pattern. The pattern peaks at the height of the afternoon commute and is more relaxed in the hours leading up to and after the peak.

Morning and afternoon drive have a symbiotic relationship. They share similar audiences. They frame the broadcast day. In effect, the two programs complement each other.

I will leave you with a quote from Jacob’s Media.

“We cannot keep laying that creative burden on our morning shows and expect it to work.  The rest of the day… has to make a contribution to being timely, current, interesting, compelling, and (gulp!) fun.”



First published by Jacobs’ Media. Read original here



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