Folks have called, posted and emailed positing numerous theories as to why country radio's "satisfaction" scores have trended downward for the last two years and "willing to try a new radio station" has trended up (though both remain at levels many other formats would envy!):
- The music isn't as good as it was two years ago?
- Too many irritating commercials?
- Too much repetition?
- Over-reliance on voice-tracking and not enough 24/7 engagement?
- Weak digital outreach?
- Lack of marketing?
Of course, all of that are challenges we need to work harder on, but so do all other radio formats too and they are hardly unique to country radio. I think a large factor is simply generational shift, aging out folks from our target who might have accepted a "we talk/you listen" broadcast approach.
It may be that we're not worse that we were one, two, three years ago. It's just that today's listener simply demands more from us.
Going back to doing what we did in the past won't solve the problem.