Good news: Listener patterns are slowly returning to “normal”. Bad news: Radio shows are not as important as in the past. Evidence shows that listeners still like radio personalities. But audiences have found new sources of entertainment and many are more provocative, outrageous, and compelling. In other words, they’re more memorable and important than even their “favorite” radio shows. This raises a critical question: Are you loud enough?

Recently, I’ve seen three research presentations that pointed to a common theme:

  • Consumers are more available to listen to the radio in the morning than during most of the pandemic.
  • They still like radio personalities that were favorites prior to the great disruption of 2020-21.
  • But the passion for personalities has plummeted.

They’ve found new entertainment sources that excite them just as much or more.

Are You Loud Enough?

It makes sense. There are literally tens of thousands of options to choose from, including podcasts, streaming services, and satellite stations. Most are delivered with few or no commercials, which continues to be the #1 barrier to longer TSL for terrestrial radio. That’s another topic. But there is an issue broadcasters can and should address:

Radio shows must be loud enough to resonate.

And that’s harder than ever. I’m not talking about processing or shouting, but turning up the volume on personality.

Here’s how Urban One SVP/Programming Colby Tyner described it:

It’s like switching from watching shows on Netflix to broadcast television. It’s not as exciting. There are commercials, and what once was provocative and engaging is now ordinary and kind of boring.

The same thing is happening to radio shows.

Turn Up The Volume

I’ve been beating this drum for some time, and we need to take it seriously. Personalities need to be unleashed. Not in a reckless way, but with a strategic plan to truly resonate with listeners.

Here are three ways to address it:

  • Take Off the Training Wheels. Personalities are difference-makers for brands. It’s time to raise expectations and create content that can’t be duplicated or replicated. And it needs to be loud enough to be heard! Take some chances. Let’s get exciting.
  • Learn To Tell Stories. Many shows are pretty good at presenting information, but few have curated content into emotionally-charged stories that are retold. It’s not about what you talk about. it’s about how you talk about it. How will you create Didja Hear moments?
  • Use Powerful Language. Learn to use more provocative language that makes a strong statement. Say what you think in bold, interesting ways. Certainly, be responsible and stay within your character brand profile, but this is not the time to tone it down. It’s time to turn it up.


Becoming a high-profile, destination show is harder than ever. It takes courage to escape the Zone of Mediocrity. It takes time to prepare deeper to be memorable.

Are you loud enough? Probably not. Let’s turn up the volume. We can help. Contact us for more information.

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