Every show should have a common goal. Achieving it will lead to higher ratings, increased revenue, and bigger bonus checks. Make it your mission to cause listeners to become fans.

Listeners are fickle. Fans are passionate. Listeners scan the dial looking for whatever satisfies them right now. Fans stay tuned so they don’t miss out. Listener preferences vary from quarter-to-quarter, week-to-week, and sometimes from one day to the next.

The difference between a large audience (cume) and a loyal fanbase can’t be overstated. Fans are the most valuable thing a radio station can have. So how is it that listeners become fans?

How Listeners Become Fans

Listeners may love the songs you play, but they love the songs. They don’t become fans of your show because of the music. Nor do they become fans because of the most accurate and frequent weather and traffic, even though those elements are useful. And they don’t pledge undying loyalty to a show handing out the most prizes, though it’s true that ratings respondents love contests.

Listeners become fans by developing a relationship with personalities. That’s why Howard Stern can lead an audience from terrestrial radio to a new medium. It’s why DeDe In The Morning has built a syndication empire. A deep relationship with listeners is why The Bert Show is so successful in Atlanta and beyond.

How To Win Fans

Converting casual listeners into fans of a personality isn’t easy. But the formula is simple. Listeners become fans when they identify and relate in one of three ways:

(Your Name) is just like me. When listeners identify character traits they see in themselves, a connection is formed.

(Your Name) is like someone I’m in a relationship with. Demonstrate traits that remind listeners of someone they love and they’ll feel strongly attached.

(Your Name) is like someone I’d like to be or be in a relationship with. Aspiration is a powerful attraction. Interesting, likable personalities are irresistible.

Personalities who fail to become one of those things to a listener are announcers, not personalities. And announcers don’t cause listeners to become fans.


Are you a personality that can lead a passionate fanbase? Would you like to become one? Start today by understanding the Personality Success Path, the five stages of growth in the audience/personality relationship. If you need help, we’re here for you. Let’s talk about how to get on a path to becoming an on-air superstar.

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