We Proudly Own No Cookie Cutter
Grand Rapids - (616) 633-3770 Indianapolis - (317) 769-0583

The Midweek Motivator – Listener Reality versus Listener Fantasy

Even in Metered markets reality remains unchanged: Lifestyle dictates the amount of time a person devotes to radio listening as opposed to radio “trickeration.”

How much time would we suppose radio programmers spend trying to “manipulate” time-spent-listening? For many it’s probably a significant portion of their weekly programming effort. So, here’s a startling proposition for radio people who toil over TSL: directly affecting time-spent-listening is a fantasy.

This myth has long been enveloped by what Audience Development Group has described as “Radio-Think” or the inside-out view so many industry people seem to embrace. In that belief “listeners are closely attuned to what radio stations are doing, listen very closely to their favorite station, and grasp all the small nuances with which we constantly bombard.” Would it were so.

“Radio Think” would have us believe we can actually manipulate or stretch TSL through clock tricks or teasing contests; “forcing listening” just a little longer. Radio’s reality offers quite a different perspective and suggests that beyond intelligent PPM or Diary clock-management, not much else is true. Listeners’ lifestyle dictates the actual amount of time a person dedicates to radio listening as opposed to plugs, teases, or clock tweaking.

No matter how great a morning show or a song played at 9:03might seem, you’re not going to convince a listener to be late for work if they’re due at 9:00 sharp. Nor will scheduling a special category out of a commercial-set guarantee someone will listen through the commercial cluster if they can’t (or choose not to).  No matter how cute or clever a programmer may be, he or she can’t entice someone to listen to AC if they’re not a format P-1 candidate, or simply seek a different music environment.

Listeners sample us when they’re in search of a format’s music-service for which a given station is known, and will keep coming back for the escapism they associate with our brand based on the promise we keep. Meter or Diary, the challenge is to avoid Radio-Think which has long led many to believe they can manipulate their way into time-spent-listening gains. Instead, design everything around what you know about THEM. Reality proves when you work from your listeners-back through focus groups and perceptual studies, you can reflect their daily realities; jobs, families, recreations, fears and challenges. In other words…look at your brand from the outside-in to see how listeners’ lives can determine their radio habit. Build your programming blueprint around their world instead of practicing hopelessly outdated gimmicks because you can’t “force” a listener to do anything!

We win through listener habituation built over time and through the promises we keep as opposed to phrases and contests. Your major objective is to linger in their mind when they’re not listening as much as when they are.