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The Midweek Motivator – Really, Has It Been A Year?

Andrew Curran and DMR Interactive remain one of our most respected colleagues. A few days ago Andrew shared an advance of his column: “An Open Letter to Radio.” Here are excerpts very much worth reading. Andrew offered; “After 365 days and 550,000 deaths across North America, the light at the end of the tunnel grows brighter each day. At the same time, what radio listening will look like post Covid 19 remains to be seen.

Although listening is rebounding, it hasn’t recovered, which puts greater pressure on ratings performance to drive revenue growth. After a year of intense disruption radio cannot take for granted that listeners, especially women, will rediscover their former P-1 station, satisfied with the promise of a “No Repeat Workday” or “Commercial-Free Hours.”

DMR goes on to point out that when polled this past February over 40% of women 18-49 admitted to symptoms of anxiety, even depression; up significantly since the pandemic ensued. The New York Times reports “day after day, working moms have one reality; get up and do it all again tomorrow.” The Times quoted one Mom admitting, “There’s no such thing as balance; something is always on the brink of collapse.” Curran points out Female listening is off from its pre-Covid levels and that female-targeted formats need to become a lot more engaging in the important topics that matter present-moment; from remote learning to caring for elderly parents, there are new and important opportunities to serve the listeners who matter most.

In our favor, nothing succeeds like radio in times like these; as schools resume in-class learning, and parents return to their commutes, radio needs to re-touch these people. Curran also addresses PPM markets where prior to the Pandemic our short term problems involved seasonal PUMM levels (person using measured media) or a heavy meter panelist family going on vacation. But this pandemic’s influence on all data-measurement is far different from any experience we’ve endured in recent times.

Audience Development Group is in constant-client dialog stressing that we simply must “turn up” our content’s relevance winning listeners back with “Can’t miss moments” as DMR refers to them. Kevin Robinson and I are reminding client colleagues of DMR’s analysis which shows in the actual world of Nielsen, ONE hour a day classifies someone as a “heavy listener.”

Understandably some programmers and their talent may assume radio’s resurgence will simply ride on listening trend increases. We caution anyone in any format to realize it will take more than “Ten In a Row” or “Cash Call” to re-connect former station fan intimacy and daily listener value. And, DMR reminds us, the assumption radio can ride on the wave of a national recovery is not guaranteed, nor in the near-term will it likely be enough!

Audience Development Group underscores these realities with constant reviews of what actually drives audience’ connection with their favorite radio station: (1) highly appealing music accuracy and (2) delivered by compelling talent who actually make “eye contact” one listener at a time.