The most successful Network affiliates take the time to make their station's sound consistent, whether they are originating locally or from the network.
Most networks make a number of liners available at no charge on either a quarterly, annual or as needed basis. Take advantage of this resource AS OFTEN AS YOU ARE ALLOWED to keep your station from sounding stale.
When writing liners for the network to record, promote local shows and features just as any local station would. For example, the morning show would promote AHEAD and talk about the midday show, but probably not promote BACK to the overnight program. The most effective liners are SPECIFIC to a particular personality or daypart and often include the start time.
Many networks allow affiliates access to playlists, music logs and even research to guide a station's locally produced dayparts for consistency. Use it!
Network Program Directors usually have a wealth of local station experience dealing with personnel, promotions and station operations. They make an excellent sounding board or "second opinion" when you're considering programming changes or new ideas to improve your station.
The line between "local" and "network" blurs the more the Network talent is used for local production. In addition to the liners and promotional spots that are included as a part of your affiliation, most networks allow their talent to record commercials for stations at a modest fee and permit travel to local markets for talent to host concerts, client parties and remotes.
The newest generation of digital technology not only costs less in the long run, it makes telling the difference between local and Network originated programming nearly impossible to discern.
The one thing a Network CAN'T do for your station is promote and market it locally. Be sure a fair portion of the money saved on the programming side by using a Network is invested in marketing and outside promotion.
You'll get the best service from a Network when their staff knows who you are. Establish a phone relationship early and if possible visit the network to meet the people who'll be working for your station.
This is so important; it needs to be said twice. The best stations take pride in (and credit for) ALL the programming they air, no matter where it originates.
Radio Consulting Services specializes in programming advice to radio stations in multiple formats.
Jon Holiday of Radio Consulting Services was a top programming executive at Jones Radio Networks for 15 years, providing radio consulting since 1998. In addition to overseeing the programming for the Jones 24/7 formats; he also supervised the production and promotions departments.
Prior to that, Holiday programmed and/or was on-air at Boston, Miami, Denver, Tampa, Providence and Hartford. He was PD of one of the 25 Highest Rated AC/Hot AC Stations in the nation according to industry publication Radio & Records.