Get Free Research From Listener Advisory Panels

Asking for opinions is a great way to activate an audience, leading to increased loyalty if used properly. That's why Listener Advisory Panels are valuable sources of information that can provide insight to help you program and promote your brand.

Everyone loves telling you what they think, especially when encouraged. You can verify this by posting a controversial question on social media. Asking for opinions is a great way to activate an audience, leading to increased loyalty if used properly. That’s why Listener Advisory Panels are valuable sources of information that can provide insight to help you program and promote your brand.

Listener Advisory Panels

The good thing about Listener Advisory Panels (LABs) is the low cost and relative ease of execution. But be careful not to interpret this data as statistically valid market research, as there are natural biases in the research pool. Most LABs are composed of superfans who are biased in favor of your brand. A well-screened LAB is not as accurate as a properly screened focus group, which is also biased in your favor!

Still, you can learn about audience attitudes and raise questions that can be probed in greater detail through other research methods or considered when making tactical decisions.

Sourcing Listener Advisory Panels

If you have an up-to-date, active database, you have a source for Listener Advisory Panels. The easiest method is to invite a portion of the database to a discussion about your brand.

Another option is to solicit respondents through social media. Ask volunteers to come to the station for a tour and to share their thoughts. You’ll most likely have more folks than you can handle!

No database to draw from yet? No problem. You can even ask for respondents on the air, but this requires more coordination and participant management.

Here are guidelines for managing the respondent panel:

Limit Participation: The ideal number of participants is 12-15. More than that is hard to manage. That’s why you only invite a portion of the database at first. You can always invite others if confirmations are slow. Also, recruiting about 50% more than you want to attend is a good idea because there will be no-shows.

Incentive: If the LAB is conducted in person (recommended), offer free snacks, such as pizza and soft drinks. Add a tour of your station as an additional benefit.

Other Options

If it’s not possible to meet in person for a formal LAB, you could substitute one of the following:

Online: A series of online surveys can reach the audience on their terms, on their own time. It’s not as intimate, and you won’t gain as much insight, but it can work if you have to do it online.

Use Zoom: Video conferencing is a possible solution to attract some participants who don’t want to travel.

Survey Those Already Gathered: When groups are gathered in a central location, such as for movie premieres, concerts, appearances, and promotions, you could schedule a short meeting before or after the event for a specially chosen subgroup.

The Hidden Benefit of Listener Advisory Panels

The insight gathered is valuable, but this project has another reason. It’s great grassroots marketing. When fans participate, they feel they’re an insider with special access. That’s why a behind-the-scenes tour and photo opportunities are so useful.

They’ll probably tell their family, friends and co-workers about it and spread the word for your station and personalities. Plus, research has proven that active listeners who love radio are far more likely to be ratings respondents.

Questions To Ask

You’re probably wondering what can be learned and how to ask it. The short answer is, “Anything you want!” However, discussion topics should be designed to fit your current strategy and tactics.

Here are some suggestions to get started:

Contests: Are prizes and contests important to you? What kinds of contests do you enjoy most? What prizes would cause you to listen to a radio station more? Which contests have you participated in recently? How do you prefer to enter?

Online: Have you visited a radio station website in the last 30 days? What do you use a station website for? Do you have ideas for what should be on a station site that isn’t there now?

Station Image: If our radio station were struck by lightning and never came back on, who would you replace it with? Why? What would you miss about our station the most? What would you say to someone who just moved to the city to explain our station?

You’re In Charge: If you were the boss of a radio station, what would it sound like and why? What is the first thing you’d do if you could wave a magic wand and change our station?

Emotional: If our station were a person that died, what would you say if you were speaking at the funeral? (Same question for personalities).

There are dozens of other uses and questions. Get more information here.

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Tracy Johnson is a talent coach and programming consultant. He’s the President/CEO of Tracy Johnson Media Group. His book Morning Radio has been described as The Bible of Personality Radio and has been used by personalities worldwide.

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