Listen Longer Strategies

Radio’s little known secret is that time spent listening to radio (TSL) has been declining steadily and without interruption since Arbitron (now Nielsen) first started keeping figures in the early 90’s.

I think you’ll agree every trick in the book has been tried without success – at least according to the metrics.

The danger is that we start blaming digital for something that started over two decades ago before digital arrived.

I don’t believe – and maybe you agree – that time spent listening to radio has to continue to decline.

But what to do?

  1. Put elements into your format that force money demo listeners to stay tuned. Old radio contests won’t do it. Try this: offer to pay someone’s college loan (or a significant portion of it) and see how long a Millennial will stay addicted to your analog radio station.  I’ve got more of these ideas.
  2. Cash is good, but Millennials can always hit up dad and mom for cash – not as easy for Baby Boomers to do when radio dangled cash in front of them. Ironically, cash is not the lure it once was – assuming stations want to spend any money at all on promotions – which they should.
  3. Invent contests. This is the gaming generation, but most radio people do not have the DNA to brainstorm these contests. I’d like to show you how I did brainstorming with Millennials at USC for radio and record clients that paid them for their help.
  4. Music discovery – the one thing music stations will not do because they think it means not playing the hits – is catnip to young audiences. Start playing mashups of new songs – not the entire song – because no one under 30 listens to a song all the way through. Don’t take it from me. Ask them.
  5. Dismantle long music sweeps – you like them, young audiences just keep tuning them out (see #4 above).
  6. Use more live-read commercials and make them authentic meaning not full of hype. My research shows Millennials actually like live-read commercials done in this fashion and it’s another way to keep tune-ins longer.
  7. Rotate commercial stop sets. You can count on losing audience every time you run long stop sets which sound even longer because the spots are so short – and so many. Run them in different places every hour and spit in the face of traditional PPM wisdom that, after all, isn’t helping stations increase their TSL.  This approach will.

Want more ideas like these?

Invest one day at the 2015 Media Solutions Conference in Philadelphia.

The curriculum:

  • Commercials – Another Way
  • How Much Radio, How Much Digital
  • Listen Longer Strategies
  • Eliminating 2015’s 3 Biggest Listener Objections
  • Ways To Compete With On-Demand Content
  • What Millennials Want From Radio
  • Selling Against Competitors Who Drop Rates
  • Start Your Own Short-Form Video Business
  • Beyond Clicks – Listener Engagement
  • Telling Stories – the New Spoken Word Radio
  • Why You Should Pass On Podcasting
  • 8 Millennial Mistakes You Don’t Want To Make
  • Tons of Questions (Q & A)

Here is the full curriculum in color, with helpful links and info.

Here is how to reserve a seat.

Want group discounts, talk to Jerry here.

For hotel info or other questions, ask Cheryl here.