- Of 6,272 Country P1 participants from 50 markets in the U.S. and Canada, 70% report being satisfied with the format. Of those who aren’t, song-repetition and commercials were top reasons. Country listeners are increasingly tech savvy, with 75% reporting using some sort of social media every day (up from 66% last year), and 31% report having an internet connection of some sort in their cars.
- Rick Barker says stations too often use digital tools to “push” information to the audience without “engaging” them. “You have to offer value,” he says. Among his examples: teaming with new artists you can’t yet include in your playlist who are willing to offer free song downloads via the station website and social media. Attached sponsorships can help drive NTR.
- “Content is key,” says Mike Stern. “Be a friend and a companion. Be a filter, give them something they can steal to use themselves, and focus on things that make you react.”
- Steve Zielonka encourages programmers to “always be collecting data (ABCD)” and use it to engage the audience. “You can’t just send out irrelevant information anymore. They’ll delete you, they’ll mark you as spam and they’ll block you. There are always negative consequences.” Use your tools to conduct surveys, for example. “Ask, ‘Are you a Toby Keith fan? Here’s a chance for you to sing on stage with him.’ Then follow-up with other Toby Keith-related
contests. When you send a targeted email, you’ll see your open rates double and triple.”
- Newcap Radio VP/Programming and Brand Like A Rockstar author Steve Jones says, “Brands are feelings that live in the heart of the customer. Jimmy Buffett’s biggest song wasn’t that big of a hit. ‘Margaritaville’ peaked at No. 7. But at his shows, people are painting their bodies, getting drunk and having a great time because he sells the experience of being a beach-bum.” Make it a point to understand your enemy and let them help define your brand. “Walmart’s slogan ‘Save Money, Live Better’ makes it all about saving money,” Jones explains. “Then Target comes in with ‘Expect More, Pay Less,’ basically saying, ‘You’re above that crap they’re selling at Walmart.’”
- Grab a (client only) copy of "The Gen X Versus Gen Y Conflict" (pdf) my presentation about the population shift ahead of us. Gen Y is estimated at 78 million, much larger than the 40-50 million-strong Gen X preceding it, and it sees the world quite differently. It’s a group that Country programmers will need to adjust to."
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