Recent research projects point to a disturbing trend. Radio listeners are breaking up with radio shows.

They’re not running away from the medium. Rather, they’re finding other things that understand them better, deliver more perceived value, and excite them more. There are many reasons, some of which are explained here.

So what can a radio personality do? You can’t match the customization options of Spotify or Apple Music, and there are millions of podcasts appealing to just about any specific interest.

But it is possible to be more aware of the listener’s experience.

How To Stop Listeners From Breaking Up With You

One of the biggest mistakes personalities make is being self-absorbed, talking about themselves rather than performing in the listener’s world.

Watch this video of a woman breaking up with an advertiser and imagine the guy is a radio personality:

This is at the heart of my seminar It’s All About You. Winning a large fan base requires personalities to fit into the listener’s lifestyle and personalities often put up barriers. Here are a few seemingly innocent comments that send a signal that “you don’t care about me”:

  • Inside jokes about others on the staff, your headphones, the equipment, or the temperature in the studio? Maybe there’s a place for it, but if the audience doesn’t relate, it’s a tune-out.
  • It’s not charming to talk about your “hometown” or where you’re from unless it’s relevant to a story being told. It just tells the audience that you’re less like them.
  • Starting a break with, “I didn’t get to see (a big event) last night because I was asleep. I have to get up early, you know” is not attractive. It just signals you’re out of touch.

Avoid Breaking Up

Most women can tell at least one story about a date where a misguided guy talks about how wonderful he is. Telling her how great you are doesn’t allow her to experience your personality.

Instead, connect with listeners on a personal, one-to-one level. Don’t tell them you’re wonderful. Let them discover it. Don’t tell them you’re funny. Just be funny. Demonstrate it!

Performers often make the mistake of thinking others share their enthusiasm for the performance. They don’t. Many shows come off like the fat, sweaty guy with bad breath that follows them around at a party.


Listeners can’t always put it into words, but they know when personalities are connected to their life experiences. I’ll never forget a listener telling me this in a focus group about a show I work with:

They always talk about what I’m thinking. I was late to work this morning and was getting frustrated in the traffic in the tunnel. When I came out the other side of the tunnel and the radio came back on, they were making fun of people who slow down at the tunnels.

That may be coincidence or purely luck. But not really. It’s more of a connection to the listener experience. That’s what it means to get attention by focusing outwardly on the audience.

It’s not about you. It’s all about the audience. But then again, It’s All About You. It’s how you make them feel in your presence. And yes, you can have it both ways.

Subscribe to Receive the Latest Radio and Personality News