2016: It’s Been Quite a Year

Years from now, the memorable thing about 2016 will be last month’s Presidential election and the campaigns that preceded it. But, it’s been quite a year in radio and here at NuVoodoo as well.

We began the year sharing highlights from our seventh NuVoodoo Ratings Prospects Study. We showed that building connections with listeners within Social Media helps build loyalty and TSL. And we updated the deep knowledge base we’ve been building in terms of the engagement and momentum of Social Media channels.

At the 2016 Country Radio Seminar in February, we showed results of testing dozens of between-the-songs promos, liners, jock breaks, etc. We compared how Country Radio listeners reacted to them with how Country Radio programmers predicted those listeners would react. For the most part, PD’s were more critical of than listeners were. But, underscoring the need to for increased research on these pieces of content, there were instances where the amount of information being communicated overwhelmed listeners or other instances where attempts at humor just didn’t connect.

The following month at the 2016 Talk Show Boot Camp, in front of a room of talk radio managers, consultants, programmers and hosts, we conducted a live focus group with adults 25-40 who showed strong interest in spoken-word programming. We found that, even among these comparatively young (for talk radio) consumers, there’s still lots of confusion about podcasts, streaming audio and connected cars (though there’s also lots of interest in them all). As a group, they’re not entirely in love with the available options for spoken word on terrestrial radio. We saw keen interest in coverage of local issues and events and fatigue with the “one-note” political positions of many syndicated talk radio hosts.

April found us at Worldwide Radio Summit in Hollywood, showing a national study of persons 14-29 and how terrestrial radio stacks up in the sophisticated, agile minds of these young consumers. Younger Millennials use FM radio as a music utility (often when they’re in a car), but they’re not connected very well with the rest of the entertainment bundle on FM. The bulk of the presentation, production, talent and promotions on FM speak at best to their older siblings and don’t resonate as well for these soon-to-be adults.

The summer found the release of our NuVoodoo Ratings Prospects Study VIII. It showed a strengthened Facebook and a significant rise in Snapchat. We had the good fortune to complete an in-depth interview with a woman who’d just fallen out of the PPM panel prior to releasing the data. Her experiences gave context to our findings and put a human face into our minds as we discuss these most-important consumers.

The end of the summer found us in Atlanta, opening the 2016 Morning Show Boot Camp with the results of hundreds of interviews with fans of morning shows. We focused on seven morning shows in NY, LA and Chicago and drilled down to learn which characteristics are essential to those shows. We learned that table stakes for great shows nowadays are to be hilarious, informative and to tell great stories. We saw continued imperatives for service elements on morning shows, even in our era of smartphone ubiquity.

In time for the Radio Show in Nashville, we released findings about contesting from Ratings Prospects Study VIII. These data showed that, among likely ratings participants, about half believe that most radio station contests are rigged. It seems to us that years of text-to-win contests (with little or no announcements of winners) and contests shared across station groups (again with little or no announcements of winners) have left listeners feeling skeptical about radio station contests being legitimate. We made recommendations to clients about tactics to use to push back on these pernicious perceptions.

We’re preparing now for NuVoodoo Ratings Prospects Study IX and another year working with our very dedicated, talented, and inquisitive clients. Einstein is remembered as having defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” 2017 will again be defined by the new strategies we can develop, the new tactics we can adopt and the new talent we can bring to bear to keep bringing audiences to the radio. Happy Holidays!