by Tracy Johnson
Radio can have a bright future. The medium not going away. But personality radio has a tremendous future. New research proves that air talent sets stations apart. And that’s why broadcasters must develop personality now.
They uncovered many interesting points, but the one thing that stood out was the value of personalities. The results clearly show that radio personalities are more valuable than ever.
The audience sampled was women age 15-54 who listen regularly to AC or CHR stations in North America.
Here’s a chart showing the main reasons for choosing a station:
That’s powerful information. The study verifies that the greatest driver is mood. That’s followed closely by hearing today’s current hits. But look at #3, just a few percentage points behind.
76% strongly or somewhat listen because the people are entertaining.
And 66% say thy listen to hear “fun and funny stuff in the morning.”
But that’s not even the most convincing information.
Here’s another look, with a slightly different question:
Why do they love their favorite station in the morning?
Upbeat music is #1 for radio. Fun/funny personalities (37%) is tied for #2. (The radio column is not sorted in order of choice).
Here’s more. This shows the appeal of entertaining personalities among those who listen primarily for music.
Note that this graph shows only those that strongly agree with the statement.
Radio’s personality advantage is clear in the study. Radio has a 0% advantage over streaming for playing favorite songs. ZERO. Nada. Zip.
But, 24% list personalities and fun as a key advantage (13% + 11%).
In other words, the more widespread and accessible streaming audio sources become, the more irrelevant music will be on the radio. And there’s barely an advantage for news and service information.
Then what’s left?
Historically, radio programmers could focus on winning one of four categories:
Music: Be the outlet for delivering a music solution and you could carve out a strong niche.
Information: The station to turn to for news, traffic, weather and sports was a viable position.
Promotion: Over-the-top contests, promotions and stunts could generate attention and win affection.
Personality: The people that make an emotional connection with the audience have always been valuable.
Today? Radio can’t win music, information or promotion. Technology and changing consumer behavior has removed that advantage. Yes, it’s possible to win against other radio stations, but isn’t that short-sighted?
Personality is the one thing that cannot be taken away from you.
Still not convinced? Here’s one more graph that shows conclusively that listeners tune in because of entertaining personalities:
Personalities are becoming the single most important asset in radio. Everything else is a commodity in a crowded environment.
Alan Burns summarizes:
One of the biggest differences is that actual ratings cooperators are more strongly attracted to entertaining personalities (64%) and fun in the morning (67%) than the average listener.
Strategic Solutions Research EVP Hal Rood added:
High profile personalities are radio’s best hope against online streamers.
Personality radio is the future. No, I take that back. Personality radio is the present.
Are you investing in air talent? Are you supporting them with the tools to grow your talent?
If you need some help, I know a talent coach that would be happy to help.
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