“We’re targeting the show to the 20- and 30-somethings, which hasn’t been done in the country format,” WSIX Program Director Michael Bryan said. “If you look at the artists, what we’re doing is a reflection of what’s popular. We have to do this if we’re going to raise a new generation of country listeners.”
I recommended radio programmers take a cue from census data, which indicate that today’s 16- to 33-year-olds, estimated at about 78 million people, as a group are not only larger than the generation immediately preceding them, but also larger than the leading edge of baby boomers. “You don’t even have to target younger. It’s just that America is becoming younger because of this generational cohort. I don’t think the average country station has to do anything to attract the younger generation. All you have to do is play the latest hits by the latest stars.”
Twenty years ago, the topic might not have generated the same level of interest, said Sean Ross, vice president of music and programming at Edison Research. “There wasn’t any music that a self-respecting teen would have been interested in,” Ross said. “There wasn’t as much tempo. There wasn’t as much of a rock edge. We have gone from ‘We don’t want anybody under 25 or maybe even 35. But if they come along for the ride, that’s nice,’ to ‘Hey, kids, win a contest to have Hunter Hayes visit your high school.’
- “All advertisers are trying to reach certain targets. I have a suspicion that (country radio) may be attracting 25- to 35-year-olds now at a little bit higher rate. The question is, is that at the detriment of other groups? I think a lot of people are looking at the ratings service as an indication of the move on the format. I don’t look at the ratings service as research,” said John Dimick, vice president of programming and operations for Lincoln Financial Media, which operates 15 radio stations in Atlanta, Denver, Miami and San Diego. “I think country’s appeal continues to be mass in nature.”
- Specifically courting a younger demographic is not necessary, said Chris Huff, program director at KSCS-FM 96.3, Dallas, because the music has broad enough appeal to pull in all age groups. “In country music, it’s really not as segregated musically. There are people of all ages who are fans of Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean, and you have younger listeners who are fans of the older stars,” Huff said. “Just by its nature, it’s going to attract a sizable audience.”
As long as Bobby (and the rest of us) understand and adhere to the fundamentals of the culture, lifestyle and music which unite a mass audience of all ages of country fans in many areas of the world today, we'll have a very bright future.
Millenials have already impacted our media and social relationships, no matter what age group you belong to.
I will speak more about why I feel that way at the Albright & O'Malley & Brenner client seminar in Nashville.
Then, let's spend the rest of CRS week thoroughly discussing your point of view on it too.
That's what has made our format incredibly dynamic for many generations.