Do Listeners Care About Radio Stations?
April 14, 2014
In the qualitative work preceding this year’s NuVoodoo Ratings Prospect Study, comments from respondents tended to fall into one of two general descriptions when asked to talk about radio.Â Those with positive feelings about radio talked about stations being brands; a number of them compared radio to a shopping mall, where the stations are like stores.Â Those less enthusiastic about radio talked about it being comparatively old appliance and now there are better ways to get music.Â
So â€“knowing that an old appliance and a shopping mall aren’t polar opposites in any manner â€“ we asked respondents which of these 2 descriptions is closer to how they think about FM & AM radio in general:
- It’s like a shopping mall with the different stations as stores with distinct offerings.
- It’s an old appliance that used to be better for playing music you like.
Not surprisingly, people who use more radio are less inclined to think of the medium as an old appliance â€“ and more likely to think of radio as being like vibrant stores in a mall.Â
In addition to varying by usage level, it also varies by music format constituency.Â Both CHR and Urban P1’s strongly favor radio as distinct brand offerings, while AC â€“ generally the least foreground of the major music formats â€“ is the format where the greatest numbers conjure up the old appliance.Â
In fact, it’s P1’s for AC and Urban who are most likely to get equivocal when it comes to caring about stations.Â
And, AC P1’s specifically are the one group in which more disagree than agree with the idea that radio is at least as important to them today as it was 5 years ago.Â
A few disclaimers: this is a national sample; specific local stations are undoubtedly far healthier.Â Â Also, our questions were asked about radio in general; but it’s reasonable to assume that the stations and formats these respondents listen to most have a strong impact on their perceptions of radio.Â
As radio stations compete on the larger stage that includes internet pureplays, podcasts and whatever is the next big thing we’ll hear about, we continue to work to make stronger social connections and strive for deeper online engagement with consumers.Â These numbers underscore the need to continually reinvent, re-engage and re-imagine our on-air products.Â
To encourage consumers to care about us, it’s incumbent that we care about them.Â The truth is we care deeply about our listeners, but, absent a crisis or local disaster, we rarely take the opportunity to demonstrate how much we care to listeners.Â
To remain as important to consumers as we were five years ago, we need to ask ourselves what we’ve done to increase our relevance in their lives over the last five years.Â Their lives have changed a lot in the last five years.Â In broad terms, has our programming changed as much?Â
Online pureplays talk about “curated playlists.”Â Radio has had curated playlists for decades, but we rarely talk about our music selection process.Â What attitudes and beliefs are consistent among your heavy listeners?Â How does your programming address those attitudes and beliefs?Â If you have local programming, how are you maximizing the opportunities with your local listeners?Â
If we were inventing our programming today, what would it sound like?Â