Radio Listeners Most Frequent Complaints
Gary Begin/Sound Advantage Media
For the most part, they sound terrible!
The pure unending nature of stopsets.
No matter how great the rest of a station’s programming may be, most stations are running 16 units or more per hour usually in two breaks.
This makes them unlistenable.
Audiences have complained about commercials for a long time but in a world where listeners can skip commercials everywhere else, radio is looking for real trouble by running unending stop sets.
CBS loads clusters with garbage. Cumulus and Clear Channel throw anything in of any length that they can sell or giveaway to make the listening experience that much worse.
Miller Kaplan Arase has performed more damage to an already bad situation than even PPM could do, as owners want to drive the revenue numbers up at the expense of what is unimaginable to sit through.
The good news is that there are new ways to approach the need to run lots of inventory without driving listeners away. It’s a phased plan. You can even test it until you’re satisfied.
An old complaint made worse by the fact that listeners now have many devices to turn to besides radio.
A music radio station operates under the assumption that if they can get a listener to like a song, the listener will stay tuned in for all of it.
There is new evidence that this is no longer possible and changes would be prudent for stations looking to keep audiences engaged.
There is a way to capture even more TSL with music radio listeners by doing something very disruptive – but you’re going to like it and you can experiment in off-hours until you feel really confident.
To do nothing will bring more of the same declining time spent listening to radio, while your listeners are listening to something else.
ANTIQUATED MORNING SHOWS
Radio stations are essentially doing the same morning show they’ve done for 40 years or more. Not one major new element has been innovated and many of the tried and true morning show features that we as an industry love are no longer working.
We’re going to brainstorm together about new features to add to morning shows that are unique, compelling and even more importantly, addicting. Take them home and try them. Better yet, try them and sell them. Make them advertiser friendly.
CONTESTS AND PROMOTIONS
They think most radio contests are stupid and the prizes are laughable yet in an era where gaming is so popular, radio has an opportunity to lead the way with contests and promotions so strong that even young listeners will feel compelled to stay glued to the radio. Increasing cume and TSL.
This would be just talk if we didn’t have a great promotion that should be done in every market. If you like it, reserve it for yours.
The one thing today’s listeners expect from a radio contest – even more important than the size of the prize.
Even if a station does everything else right, hype and self-promotion will backfire. That wasn’t always the case. Radio excelled at self-promotion in earlier decades but now there is something more desirable that listeners crave in the digital age.
It is authenticity!
But being authentic is tougher than it sounds especially when you’re transforming the entire radio station.
And there are 6 other things that millennial listeners want from radio in addition to authenticity. Let’s go through them one at a time.
The good news is that radio operators who care about local audiences can do something to change audience perceptions.
You just have to know what works and what doesn’t.
What to say and what not to.
What to do that excites.
Here are some examples:
1. Disrupting what consolidators have turned our radio industry into. We can’t do this by just changing formats. It’s going to take a nuclear option and I’ve got one for you that is so big it will push your consolidated competitors back with no option to compete with you.
2. Master digital. Digital isn’t a product. It’s a technology. Every radio broadcaster needs to start a second stream of revenue separate from radio. Let’s create some content. There are some amazing possibilities out there. .
3. Create your own social media. If you tie yourself to Facebook, Twitter or even the current rage, Instagram, you’re going down with them. There’s a better way. Make your own social network and drive it with content and revenue possibilities. It’s being done under the radar by some smart radio people right now.
4. Reinvent radio. Stop thinking of it as hourly hot clocks and redesign it to be compelling to the very audience we can’t seem to attract – 95 million Millennials. They dislike radio but they like some things we’re not currently doing. Interested in providing this content for younger money demos? It takes an open mind and some creativity.
5. Video. Video. Video. We’re wasting valuable time. You must be in this business but it is not what you think it is. Let me share some real success stories including one entrepreneur who makes $3 million a year by doing a free 5-minute weekly video. No commercials, banner ads, product placement or subscription fees.
6. The key to attracting Millennials. There is basically nothing radio has to offer right now that Millennials can’t get somewhere else. The secret to attracting Millennials is to build your station for them. I know that sounds awful, but Steve Jobs didn’t design Apple products for later adopters. He mastered the early adopters by finding out the “radical” things they couldn’t resist. We can do this and here’s the plan.
7. Time shift radio. Look, if you get nothing else out of this you must become skilled at time shifting content. Binge watching is the rage. Broadcasting is out. It doesn’t mean the end if we know how to time shift our content.