What We Do

Overview | Strategy | Music | Morning Shows and other on-air talent | Program Director Training and Resources | Marketing/Promotions | Consumer Focus | Experience | The Difference


Alan Burns & Associates helps radio stations increase ratings by providing custom strategies, music plans, morning show development, marketing/promotion ideas, and training of your staff.

We are a small firm that specializes in precise custom strategies and close, personal attention to our limited client list.

We consult all forms of AC and CHR: from Mainstream, Soft, Modern, Gold AC and Hot AC, to Mainstream and Rhythmic CHR.

Our task is to help each client formulate — then execute — the one strategy that will result in success.

When you work with us you can expect these five benefits:

  • Knowledge and Experience - The best minds
  • Commitment to your station's goals
  • Customized strategy designed just for your station
  • Close, personal attention - Easy accessibility
  • Honesty

Our own interests are best served when our clients succeed. Satisfied, successful clients continue to use us, and they refer their friends to us. We succeed only when you succeed.

Thus, it is in our long-term interest to work only with the number of clients we can comfortably service.

We do not offer pre-fabricated "one size fits all" formats or recommendations for our clients. Instead, we employ a success system we have perfected over the years that results in custom solutions designed for your station, and your station only.

The key to the system's success is listener focus, rather than the format focus. Make no mistake: we will help you with all the details — including formatics, music personalities, marketing, etc.


Success starts with a plan.

Our task is to help you formulate, then execute, a winning strategy created just for you. We deal in custom strategies, not cookie-cutter boilerplate.

We help our clients develop strategies that encompass their business goals and needs, available resources and time, strengths and weaknesses of competitors, and what's available in the market, and what might be created.

One of the greatest services we perform for clients is to help them see the "outside" perspective — that is, how listeners perceive radio, what they're willing — and not — to do, and what timeline listener change occurs on.

Years ago we originated the "3M" principle: get the music, the morning show, and the marketing right, and you'll win. We do all of that.


Music programming involves both art and science. Research and feel. We use both.

What music expectations does your station have, or need to build? We help you answer that question, and build systems to achieve the goal. Expectations, surprises, flow, timing, era, tempo control of repetition for maximization of variety - they're all part of the job.

We'll help build or refine the library based on the station's strategy, tweak the rules, build clocks, recommend songs to add (and not) and help your Program Director and/or Music Director schedule consistently great logs.

Morning Shows and Other Talent

Finding, developing, and coaching morning show talent is one of our greatest strengths.

Alan Burns co-authored the morning show "bible", Morning Radio: A Guide to Developing On-Air Superstars which continues to be relied on by both new and established talents.

Both talent and programmers enjoy and benefit from the way we work, as witnessed by the following actual client quotes:

"I look forward to my sessions with Alan like I look forward to Morning Show Bootcamp. You come away energized and full of ideas, and with the confidence you need to deliver passionate radio."

"Your first session with our morning show was a real eye-opener, one of the most valuable experiences of my career."

"I want to thank you for the tremendous kick start you gave us.... Your positive feedback and constructive criticism was extremely beneficial. Your game plan and goal setting for the year really helped us!"

"An aircheck session with 'The Consultant' could easily be an intimidating experience, but this one was motivational and enjoyable. Everyone was fired up afterwards!"

"Thank you for your support - especially your ideas concerning the stunt you helped us cook up...that really took us further. Before we had this brainstorming it seemed to me as if we were stuck in a trap, but your ideas really helped us to get the focus back."

"I loved our session with you. Everything from the brainstorming, to showing us how to be more topical, to the pros and cons of various bits was excellent...you showed me HOW it can be done more effectively and WHY there was a proper method to the madness. I learned more from you in two days than I did in four days at Boot Camp!"

Depending on your situation, we'll:

  • Help you find talent
  • Develop the show strategy and differentiation
  • Coach and train the talent
  • Critique shows with a focus on how to improve
  • Improve your PD's skills as the "executive producer" of the show
  • Suggest new material
  • Brainstorm with the show
  • Creativity training and brainstorming

Your morning show is the most important place to attract new cume, to generate word of mouth about your station, and to create strong bonds between the station and its listeners - bonds that result in habitual listening, thus more TSL. We help you develop a morning show that accomplishes those goals.

Program Director Training and Resources

We help your Program Director improve his skills in the most important areas, including:

  • Directing and improving your morning show
  • Coaching talent
  • Music programming
  • Strategic and tactical skills
  • Promotions that move the needle
  • Creativity
  • Time and Resource Management

If you're without a good PD we can help you find a strong one.

If you've got a PD who needs to be developed, we'll "coach him up."

If you've got a world-class PD, we'll help him maintain perspective and bring him new ideas.

Marketing and Promotions

  • Are you a new, established, or evolving station?
  • Do you need top of mind boost, tune-ins, image builders?
  • What resources do you have? What are your goals?
  • What matters most to your audience?
  • What's happening right now that you can capitalize on?
  • How can you get some free TV coverage?
  • What's your digital strategy? How's your web site? Your Facebook page?

Those are just a few of the questions that determine what your marketing and promotional plans and priorities need to be. We'll help you answer the questions, develop a marketing/promotion plan, then help you execute it and keep it going.

  • We'll help you plan buys, and develop billboard, direct mail, online, or TV creative.
  • We'll help you improve your web presence (and web revenue!)
  • We'll help you create promotions and events (s many as 400,000 people in one day to one event!).
  • We'll help you seize the moment.

And the end result will be higher ratings and better sales.

Consumer Focus

One of the reasons we've been able to help so many different stations and formats in so many varied situations is this: we stay focused on the consumer. What he or she wants, thinks, and does is infinitely more important to your success than the latest radio fad.

We even do national studies to help us develop proprietary listener information with which to help our clients. Our latest study is radio's largest-ever survey of female AC and CHR listeners. The publicly released results of "Here She Comes: Insights into Women, Radio, and New Media" are available here.


2010 marked our 25th year of advising broadcasters in the largest and smallest markets.

We've helped stations whose music just wasn't quite right… or which needed a winning morning show...a new format or position… or just a shot in the arm.

Prior to founding Alan Burns and Associates, we've…

  • Programmed winning major market radio stations
  • Pioneered research techniques in the industry
  • Advised Arbitron
  • Earned graduate degrees in communications
  • Studied the principles of entertainment common to all media
  • Studied creativity under the best teachers

The Difference

With Alan Burns and Associates you don't just get opinions....you get facts. Everyone's got an opinion, and almost everyone thinks they are great at picking music. But we go much further than that. We conduct our own research to find out what listeners think, want, and do. It gives us and our clients an important competitive advantage. See the public portion of our latest study, "Here She Comes: Insights into Women, Radio, and New Media" here.

Furthermore, we aren't "programming" consultants. We're music, morning show, marketing, strategy, and creativity consultants. We don't just focus on music...we help you in every area that impacts your success.

And with Alan Burns and Associates, you'll get a strategy built just for your situation - not some cookie-cutter boilerplate.