Every show should have a common goal that, when achieved, will lead to higher ratings, increased revenue, and a bigger bonus check. Make it your mission to convert ordinary listeners into fans. That sounds easy, but it’s not because listeners are fickle. Most use the radio in the background, scanning the dial for instant gratification.

But fans are passionate and usually stay tuned so they don’t miss out. A loyal fanbase is the most valuable thing a radio station can have. By the way, fans are not P1s, as I explain in detail here, though they are (mostly) a subset of P1s. Fans have an emotional connection. And, while P1s contribute up to 80% of your total TSL, fans are a more reliable and higher percentage of the P1 listening.

So, in your quest to chase a few more engagements, converting listeners into fans should be a top priority, and that starts with understanding how listeners become fans.

The Process To Turn Listeners Into Fans

Listeners may love the songs you play, but they love the songs more. They may (or may not) need the information services provided, but the station is the utility through which they get it, much the way their Air Fryer is the means to make delicious crispy fries. They don’t pledge undying loyalty to a show handing out the most prizes, though it’s true that rating respondents tend to be active contest players.

The things you do (music, information, contests, service elements, features, etc.) are valid instruments to increase tune-in and can help develop listening habits. But that’s not how to turn listeners into fans.

Listeners become fans by developing an emotional connection with the brand, usually through a relationship with personalities. When listeners are fans of your station or show, the utility (station) is not easily replaced. This is why legendary personalities can change stations and take the audience with them, often leaving their former station in shambles. Howard Stern led his audience from terrestrial radio to Sirius XM, causing millions of fans to pay for something they were getting for free.

Just as die-hard sports team fans are loyal whether the team is winning or losing, fans of personalities don’t easily switch allegiance, but earning those fans is hard.

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 relate to you in one of three ways:

(Your Name) is just like me. Listeners form connections when they identify character traits they see in themselves, usually starting with common interests. Try to demonstrate your character traits by sharing a point of view through relevant topics curated in a way that causes listeners to “recognize themselves” in the content.

(Your Name) is like someone I’m in a relationship with. Building a fanbase around one or two narrow qualities limits potential. The team shows that offering multiple characters (and dozens of character traits) increases the odds of connecting with more listeners. But even solo shows can expand your range by demonstrating attributes that remind listeners of someone they love.

(Your Name) is like someone I’d like to become or at least hang out with. Aspiration is a powerful attraction. Likable personalities are irresistible when they demonstrate character traits the audience wishes they could be. That isn’t easy to reach, but being someone they would like to have coffee, lunch, or drinks with is also aspirational.


Trying to get more listening is a tactical exercise. Polishing your execution, playing the hits, delivering service information, and managing clock mechanics to earn rating credit are fundamental elements of great shows. Football teams don’t get to the Super Bowl unless they are great at blocking and tackling. However, building a fanbase is strategic, and it depends on developing personalities that form a bond that goes beyond the list of things a radio station provides, just as teams with a large fanbase are built on intangible, emotional connections that fans will pay to see and buy. their jersey.

True personalities convert listeners into fans, but those who fail to make emotional connections in at least one of those three ways are merely announcers, and announcers are disposable.

Are you a personality that can lead a passionate fanbase? Would you like to become one? Start today by understanding the Personality Success Path and the five stages of growth in the audience/personality relationship. That starts by understanding who you are and how your traits can support a character that becomes an audience magnet.

Earning more listeners is good, just as a sports team selling more tickets is positive, but good stations only become indispensable brands when you turn listeners into fans.


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