Changing How Radio Engages Listeners

When young in-demo audiences under 40 turn on a radio, they hear aliens.

Radio doesn’t sound like them and doesn’t have what they want from a radio station today.

Here are some of the things listeners want from radio …

  1. Talk one-to-one not to everybody at once.
  2. Listeners do not appreciate when radio stations try to relate to them. At my conference last year, Dan Mason, Jr. presented his research that showed listeners are turned off by stations that try too hard to relate. In other words, be authentic, not patronizing.
  3. Listeners still feel radio personalities talk down to them.
  4. They don’t like when women are put into subservient roles or put in positions that are second to males – a role that used to be accepted.
  5. They hate hype and yet radio stations are veritable hype machines with sweepers, promos and jocks who sound like they are bragging. Most stations would tell you their station never hypes but listeners would disagree.
  6. Radio will have to come up with another way to schedule commercials. If stations keep running short cheaper spots that ad agencies prefer, listeners will tune out and stay away.
  7. Read their lips – they don’t listen to songs all the way through even ones they love. Ironically, radio is based on the theory that if we play the most popular songs, the audience will stay listening. Any realist knows this is not the case so a different approach is now required.
  8. Listeners want the station to stand for something. Quick: what does your station stand for in one or two words. Let your audience answer and don’t be surprised if they can’t. And if you think they will regurgitate your on-air branding, they won’t. A radio station that engages audiences must be described by them in one or two meaningful words.
  9. They want stations to help them with life – get a job, meet people, follow their dreams, pay their college loans down. No station you know of does this.
  10. They want stations to advocate for them and fight for what’s fair. Stations advocate for listeners? What am I smoking?

I have described a station that today’s audiences want and today’s radio is not giving them.

To find out how to start the process of changing the way we engage audiences, reserve a seat and join the discussion at my upcoming radio conference two weeks from today where we will share ideas and strategies. Details here.