Building Listener Regularity

How many days a week does your average listener tune in to the morning show?  It may be just three out of five.  A strong listening habit makes horizontal audience maintenance easier.

Radio regularity has nothing to do with Metamucil.  Rather, it is all about TSL. Increasing Time Spent Listening occurs when a listener keeps listening or returns for another listening occasion after tuning away. While the average time spent listening on one occasion is just ten minutes (the national PPM average for all formats and stations), P1s listen for many occasions per day.  Smart programmers use contesting, benchmarks, and creative teasing to lengthen TSL.

It is also important to build listening regularity every day of the week. How many days a week does your average listener tune in to the morning show?  It may be just three out of five.  A strong listening habit makes horizontal audience maintenance easier.

 

  • Schedule talent benchmarks at the same time daily, especially in the morning show. Listeners are creatures of habit, and they will tune in to hear the bit or play the game when asked (when it is promoted).
  • Promoting ahead to the next hour is essential, as is promoting a hook for tomorrow’s show. Give listeners a reason to come back and create the impression that they are missing something if they don’t tune in.  Provide a specific time as opposed to the generic “next hour.”
  • Be creative with your teases. Promote specific benefits and special benchmarks that may induce repeat listening on an appointment basis.
  • Expose your station’s attributes during high commute times when button-punching is more likely. How do you get a competitor’s cume to sample you?  If your market has a 20-minute average commute with a big 8 AM start time for work, make 7:40-8:00 AM a great miniature portrait of your station around each song.

 

Systemize your approach to presenting the morning show, and ratings will increase.

Practice Forward Momentum

 

The key to building Time Spent Listening is forward momentum. These three tactics help generate forward momentum:

 

  1. Vertical teasing:  Before every stopset, tease what’s coming up after the commercials.  Be creative by not giving it all away. Instead of merely saying the artist’s name, engage the listener to think about a resolution to the tease.  Use Wikipedia or Songfacts.com to create an enticing tease without saying the artist’s name or song title.

 

  1. Horizontal teasing: Promote what will occur on the next show tomorrow.  Tease a specific clue or prize that will happen again tomorrow.  Tease enthusiastically: “You don’t want to miss tomorrow’s feature.”  You may have a major concert pre-sale announcement, or you’ll play a special song.  Horizontal teasing is essential right after a daily benchmark like the “Impossible Question” when you tease the new question and when to hear the answer tomorrow – 24 hours later.

 

  1. Don’t stop the momentum of your music sweeps with content like a promo, contest, weather, traffic, long backsell, etc. Doing this between songs is perceived by the audience as commercials, and this action stops the momentum.  Keep the breaks between songs clean and restrict talk to a minimum – ideally over the music ramp.

 

Pic designed by waewkidja for www.freepik.com.

 

John Lund is President of the Lund Media Group, a radio programming, broadcast consulting, and research firm with specialists in all mainstream radio formats. 

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