Boardwalk or Mediterranean Avenue?

In the game, Monopoly, the rent for the lowest-tier property, Mediterranean Avenue, is $250 when it has a hotel. The rent for Boardwalk, with a hotel, is $2000. At $2000 per visit, that’s not a hotel – that’s a destination resort! Destination resort: one of those places that offers more than lodging, that offers an experience beyond even that of a first-class hotel, one that somehow transcends a breathtaking location. If you’re lucky enough, it’s a place you book over and over again.

When it comes to resorts and vacations, however, cost becomes a significant matter. The $2000 per night resort offers a much nicer experience than the $250 per night hotel. For the same $2000, you can spend one night at “Boardwalk” or eight nights at “Mediterranean Avenue.” In the end, consumers balance number of nights and relative quality to whatever’s best for them.

Terrestrial radio choices cost nothing and digital options cost nothing (or close to nothing). Consumers can switch from one station to another with no penalty. They can listen every day to a station – and have no higher incremental cost than listening for one day. Having the very best listening experience doesn’t have a high cost attached to it.

So, what’s the experience listening to your station? Is it a bare-bones, “Mediterranean Avenue” hotel experience or is it a “Boardwalk” destination resort? Is your station primarily designed to glean TSL from people who’ve decided to turn on the radio and end up punching from one station to another? Our business has launched lots of those stations – and they’ve worked well when consumers had few options for audio entertainment. As listening options multiply every day, it’s becoming increasingly important to build stations that are destinations.

You know the stations that are destinations today. They have a killer morning show or a great afternoon host or an utterly unique presentation style or a perfect music blend or contests and events that people talk about. These are the stations that can launch apps and podcasts extending their brands. They’re the stations that have substantial online listening. They are the stations that generate non-traditional revenue streams because listeners will pay to affiliate with those brands.

Imagine a touchscreen in a car with a set of, perhaps, 20 icons showing the driver’s specific listening choices from all the sources available: specific terrestrial stations, specific satellite channels, specific internet streams, specific podcasts. Would consumers take time to set one for your station? If they wouldn’t, what changes can you begin making today to make your station that “sticky?” What will you need to do to elevate it from being one of the stops on a crowded dial to being a destination?