Friday, September 12, 2008

This Is Good News?

The radio trade media is reporting the latest American Media Service index survey as very positive news and certainly there's a lot of data to support that we may be a bit like a blacksmith in 1900, bragging that the majority of his customers are still using horses to get around.

"52% of respondents keep listening when commercials air" is being reported as great news.

How many minutes of commercials did they think their favorite music station airs an hour? 13, and 45% either change or turn off the radio when commercials come on. 41% said they are back listening within two minutes, which makes you wonder if they'd leave in the first place if we simply cut commercial loads back to nine minutes.

Would they listen to more radio if there were fewer commercials? 68% would and 70% said they’d like to hear more music. Only 45% say they’d like to hear more local news and 38% want more national news. Just 17% said they’d like to hear more talk from air personalities.

Here is the good news as I read it: we have known what it would take to make them listen more for years. When we're not playing music, we need to be simply great, every time.

So, why would we want to add ANY more commercial clutter, permit news to be done in the same old ways or air personalities to say the same predictable and boring things? The bad news, of course, is that the majority of radio stations are doing exactly that.

1 comment:

Rob Usdin said...

"On a crusade to help radio personalities replace tired DJ-talk
crutches and cliches with authenticity; hype with emotion,
story-telling."

Jaye -

This is Rob Usdin, I worked in radio for 10 years, 5 at WJRZ in Toms
River NJ, and 5 with Broadcast Architecture doing production of their
shows and Mix-master and other test results... I have since moved on
to a career in IT, but consider radio as "in my blood" and I do a
podcast, and I used to run a streaming station. I still have an
interest in, and keep up with the radio industry.

This tweet you put out there is probably the crux of one of radio's
issues for many, many years, from liner card reading to limits on time
in breaks - radio DJs just cannot connect on any personal level with
their listeners.

I've been involved in podcasting as a hobby for the past 3 to 4 years,
and while I think podcasting could learn a lot from radio (in terms of
monetization and quality of sound) - radio really could learn a lot
from podcasting on the personality front. Podcasters are creating
micro communities around their shows - and it all has to do with the
lack of restrictions on what they say. They talk about everyday
things, they tell stories, and people relate to them. Now - I'm
talking independent podcasters here - not repurposed stuff from large
distributors. The thing is - I see a lot of these people as almost
the rebirth of personality radio - folks who were happy to have a
platform to talk and get their message out. People who were able to
sit and talk to their audience on a one-on-one basis - as if they were
talking to their friend at a table with a cup of coffee in hand. It's
about being real, not hyper-real.

For a while I was being coached by Jay Trachman - who was trying to
help me bring this out, while still remain in the confines of the CHR
format I was doing at the time. It was and I would guess for most
jocks still is a very big struggle. It is very difficult to be the
bigger-than-life CHR/country/rock PERSONALITY and still be PERSONAL,
because as a personality, you are the best, most hyped, edited version
of yourself. If you are personal, you are (mostly) unedited, and
real.

Until radio begins to unpersonality its jocks, and let them be the
real people they are - I think it's going to be a losing battle.

--*Rob Usdin
rusdin@gmail.com

Listen to the Jersey Jamcast - New Music from New Jersey and Beyond!
http://www.jerseyjamcast.com