Do you eat your own dog food?
Odd question, but I ask it for good reason. In the tech world “dogfooding” is slang for “eating one’s own dog food” or using your own product the way that a consumer would to ensure that it works as designed. So, when was the last time to ate your own dog food?
When you’re producing imaging and spots for multiple stations it can be difficult to take time out to listen to your stuff on the air. But from time to time, it’s a good idea to take a step back and put in the time do a little “dogfooding”. And not just from a production stand point either. Take in the whole station: music, jock content, spots, promotions/contesting and imaging. Do they all complement each other? Are the messages making sense? Is the station relevant to person, place & time?
In my last full-time gig, I had a PD who liked to do listen days every so often. It would be me, the Creative Services Director, The PD, a PD from a sister station and maybe the Promo director or a sales manager; sequestered at an offsite location and just listening. We’d start at the tail end of the morning show and go until the last hour of afternoon drive. It was a great exercise because we all could hear aspects of the station that we didn’t normally pay too much attention too. We’d also pull up that website and social media feeds to make sure that the content there was in line with watch was being talked about on-air.
I always hated it when I would produce a contest promo that included a call to action like “go to our website to register or see rules and more info, etc.” and it had to be on the air at, say, Friday 3pm. Yet that information wouldn’t be added to the website until the web team got to it on Monday morning. So now we’ve had a message running on air all that directs people to our website for information that doesn’t exist.
Having a listen day every now and again, in addition to working out kinks in programming, can also foster a report between programming, production, promotions and sales so that communication flows more freely and there is less animosity between departments. When everyone is working together, it’s easier to pull the ratings and revenue up. You just might have to eat a little dog food first!