Why Do Listeners Tune Out? Because Tune In Never Really Happened
September 22, 2015
Content matters. You know this is true because everyone talks about it. Every broadcasting convention in the world devotes countless panel discussions that repeat the mantra: "Content is King."
But what does that mean in a world where even 140 characters on Twitter is too long to retain attention? Listeners are brutal. They will change the dial because they can. They have options and aren't afraid to use them.
That's the bad news. The good news is they let us know how and why they behave as they do.
In the Content Superhero series, Strategic Radio Solutions EVP Hal Rood and I reveal new data based on listener research that shows how to retain attention with content.
Combining science (research) with art (application to performance), the attention question is answered:
When personalities fail to command attention, it's easier to reach for the button, and when listeners aren't immediately engaged, they are quick to exit.
That's why a quick start is so critical. It's all about the hook.
That means getting the most exciting, provocative and relatable part of the break up front by identifying and presenting the essence of your break. This is like the headline on a magazine cover or the storyline of a television episode. Why do you think James Bond movies start with five minutes of an action-packed chase scene? Or television series have replaced that 45-second theme song with a two-second intro? It's all about the hook! They grab you and won't let you go.
Yet, in virtually every break on every radio station, programmers and talent kill their hopes of keeping attention with useless chit-chat and endless positioning statements that take forever to get to anything meaningful (and in today's world, 10 seconds is forever).
Listeners tell us we talk too much. What they often mean is that we take too long to say it.
An adult human's attention span is now eight seconds. That means you have a second-second challenge before those rude, selfish listeners punch out, and in Content Superhero, we show exactly how that happens with real listeners tuning into (and out of) real breaks. You'll see how a weak or non-existent hook loses up to 50% of the audience in a very short time.
We can't turn back the clock to a time when listeners were glued to the radio, hanging on every word. But we can understand how they use radio today, what is expected, and how to attract them.
And it all starts with the hook!