How Do People Feel When They Experience Your Station?

We thought it was amazing that when we asked over two thousand Millennials, ages 14-29, across all PPM markets to rate a variety of news sources for trust, that the top 7 were all legacy news outlets. Facebook and Huffington Post show up nearly tied for eighth, both outpaced by Fox News among 14-17’s.

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Were there other sources we thought to ask about after we fielded? Sure. But, the point is that in this time of tectonic shifts in media consumption, beliefs may not be changing as rapidly as some would have you believe. The same data set shows FM music radio stations ranking ahead of streamers like Pandora and Spotify in terms of importance in the daily lives of these Millennials.

Were we surprised to see “The Grey Lady” at the top of our news trust rankings? Among Millennials?! Well, yes. And, no. The New York Times has aggressively sought to move itself into the digital space, dragging its reputation as the national newspaper of record with it. They realized that content is what matters as they work to adapt to changing distribution methods and develop new ways to monetize content. They strive to hire the best and brightest, grabbing up rising-star Millennials from the ranks of Facebook and the like.

The brand durability and relevance of specific FM music stations varies. Some are great brands with stellar heritage and strong continuing expectations. Some are playlists-disguised-as-radio-stations with thin images, little relevance and minimal expectations from listeners. Again, it’s all about content.

Perhaps most importantly our brands are shaped by how we make users feel. Experiences with content from The New York Times often end with users feeling smarter for having rubbed up against that organization. Time spent with Apple’s Beats 1 Radio often ends with users feeling hipper or more worldly.

How often do we consider how consumers feel when interacting with content from our radio brands? We said consumers and not listeners since they could be viewing a station-generated video they’ve stumbled upon in Social Media or were directed to a station page as the result of an online search. They’re all opportunities for consumers to rub up against our brands and add to their impressions – positively, neutrally or negatively.

How would you like people to feel when they interact with your station? What are you prepared to do to support that goal? Does it factor in when planning promotions? Is it known consistently throughout the station, from production & imaging … to the promotions team (including those who show up at station events) … to those who curate, post and respond on the station’s behalf in Social Media? The list expands to include sales and HR and beyond.

Radio begins competition in the wider new media stage with huge advantages: devices pre-installed in nearly every vehicle on the road; almost zero friction to consumer usage (the most complicated possibility is programming a preset on a car radio); strong consumer expectations of what they’ll get (ok, many are good, some not). Like The New York Times, it’s up to us to continue to reinvent, to explore new opportunities, to hire great people and build brands that spill from the airwaves to wider media usage.