2 Ways to Ensure Proper Stewardship for Your Local Media Schedule

local media strategy

Stewarding your local media buy is an important element that can be easily overlooked, but one that can keep your partners focused and your advertising on track.

So much time, energy and preparation is spent planning and placing where your local media buy will air, that it’s easy to think your work is done when you see your commercial, gain new customers and of course … pay the bill.

However, it’s the middle of the process where you can increase or decrease the chances your campaign will succeed.

Here are a couple of easy ways to keep your local spot buy intact and delivering up to expectations.

1. Collect Daily and Weekly Spot Logs

All television stations can provide a log that lists when your spot is scheduled to air. This is your first line of defense and your best offense.

Have your stations send the log at the beginning of each week. You want each station to have you top of mind, to start the week.

Review the logs and consider the following questions:

  • What is important to you as an advertiser?
  • Are you in breaks before prime shows, or actually within the prime programming?
  • Are your spots running at the same time everyday?
  • Are you getting the fair and equitable rotation you requested?
  • Are you scheduled in a program you didn’t order or want?

Skimming the logs can get you ahead of any problem, any pre-emptions and any poor schedule placement. It’s easier to game plan up front and throughout the flight, than simply waiting for an invoice and then reconciling for errors after the fact.

2. Utilize Nielsen Overnights and Station Trends

At some point, your TV partners have guaranteed your schedule will deliver a certain amount of ratings points or TRPs.  These points are estimated and based on trends and Sweeps ratings. You have agreed to these ratings.

While you may not be able to conduct an “official” post analysis until all invoices are in, and the proper ratings book has been released. You can see how programming is performing on a household level on a nightly and weekly basis. The simple term for this one-sheet report is an “overnight.” In larger markets, you may be able to drill down to your specific demographic.

Have your station submit a Household post after each week. This “pre-post” is a great indicator as to how the schedule is performing and most likely will perform for the duration of the flight. If a particular program is failing, request a makegood or additional spots to make up for the under-delivery.

Make sure you get equitable or preferably more points than ordered if your spot has to be moved. Do not allow more than 5% of your scheduled TRPs to be shifted from week to week over the course of a 4-6 week flight.

Tracking your local media investment, throughout the life of your local media buy, is an invaluable step in the overall advertising process.

Leslie Kill

About Leslie Kill

Leslie is an Associate Media Director at Sheehy+Associates, a regional advertising, marketing and media agency. She has been entrenched in media for a little over 10 years, allowing her the privilege to work with clients and in markets big, small and many places in between.


  1. This was very helpful. What I am wondering is should I be expecting a post-report form my local radio station AFTER my spots have aired that reflect ACTUAL ratings, reach, freq, grp’s now that the spots have actually run?

    All I got going into my schedule was PROJECTED information and I’m assuming that would now be available as ACTUAL data. Can you confirm if this assumption is correct?

    If not, what should I be asking of my local radio rep after the spots have aired to ensure I got what I paid for?
    Thanks for your help!

    • Shelby Nichols Shelby Nichols says:

      Great question, Marc! Unless you are placing media in a top 50 market with PPM measurement, it is not an industry standard to post radio schedules. For most radio schedules, you should verify that all spots aired in the ordered time periods and you have the option to reevaluate your future schedules with more current data. If you are placing a schedule in a PPM market you can post the schedule against the quarterly average and conduct the analysis you are looking for. I hope this helps!

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