Gone in 60 Seconds
February 2, 2015
Unlike podcasts, which people hear from the beginning, most listeners tune into radio shows mid-stream.Â We’ve all experienced the frustration of tuning in to a music station as the last few bars of a favorite song is playing (which brings up the question of why radios don’t have the functionality of the DVR in cable set-top boxes â€“ storage has become so inexpensive, it seems like an obvious idea).Â Programmers, consultants and producers have been working with morning shows and talk shows for years to encourage hosts to reset topics regularly in order to bring those just tuning in up to speed on what they’re hearing.Â
In the latest NuVoodoo Ratings Prospect Study of over 2,000 respondents across all PPM markets, we drilled down to regular users of talk radio and asked how long they’ll listen to decide if they’re interested in what’s being discussed on a show.Â As you might expect, younger consumers are less patient than older consumers, but our data show that 30% say they’re gone in 60 seconds and 61% claim it’s within two minutes.Â Among 18-34’s, 74% are gone within two minutes.Â Even among Baby Boomers 55-64, 60% are gone within two minutes.Â
This constantly-restarting ticking clock puts a much greater strain on the hosts of talk shows on radio than those hosting podcasts â€“ which listeners all hear from the beginning.Â Broadcast radio talk hosts need to artfully restate topics and “Chyron” their guests every couple of minutes to quickly bring up to speed those just tuning in, without sounding boring or repetitive for those who’ve been tuned in longer.Â It’s not an easy chore.Â
With guests, it’s a matter of referring to the guest by name, using his/her credentials when asking a fresh question or using his/her experience in an exchange.Â With topics, it’s a matter of continually looking for ways to include it in the conversation and taking a moment to restate the topic or the host’s take or a fresh angle every few minutes.Â Savvy producers can be very effective at reminding hosts to reset or refresh the topic.
It’s among the disadvantages of a medium people use by tuning in to hear what’s on, rather than choosing a program from the start.Â Think about the movies you’ll watch from the middle that happen to be “on” when you tune through channels on cable or broadcast TV.Â Most of the time, they’re movies you’ve seen before and can instantly jump into the story.Â Comparatively, TV talk shows have it much easier than talk radio since they can “Chyron” the topics and guests.Â Again, the greater degree of difficulty falls to the radio host, forcing radio to work harder and smarter.Â