by Tracy Johnson
Every radio station and radio show should have one goal that stands above all others. Making more money is not the goal. Neither is higher ratings. But if you achieve this one goal, both of those things will happen. The goal should be to cause listeners to become fans of radio personalities.
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 anything.
Listener preferences vary from quarter-to-quarter, week-to-week, and sometimes from one day to the next.
That’s why P1’s are not fans. And fans are not P1s.
The difference between a large audience (cume) and a passionate fanbase can’t be overstated. Fans are the most valuable thing a radio station can have.
So how can a radio station win fans?
They don’t become fans of a unique collection of songs even if they love those songs. Listeners don’t become fans of the most up-to-date, accurate, and frequent weather and traffic, even though those elements are useful. Few choose a favorite station because of breaking news alerts, though that information may be valuable. And they don’t pledge undying loyalty to the station handing out the most prizes, though it’s true that ratings respondents love contests.
Listeners become fans by developing a relationship with high-profile radio personalities. That’s it. Talent that seduces an audience through the Personality Success Path.
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.
There’s a lot to the process of converting casual listeners into fans of a personality. But at the end of the day, it’s pretty simple.
Listeners become fans when they can 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 irresistable.
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.
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