Music Station Positioning in Today’s Political Climate

In NuVoodoo Ratings Prospects Study 13, we wanted to see if there was broad interest in some of the ideas we’d picked up as verbatim comments in client studies during the latter part of 2018. In this current political climate, we wondered if there are opportunities for music radio to bring listeners together under different themes. Based on our results from our sample of 3,084 respondents, ages 15-54, across all 48 PPM markets, we think there are.

We asked respondents to agree or disagree with statements that they would listen more to stations that aligned with various ideas. The three shown here all generated wide support.

You’ll note that even stronger majorities supported the ideas among those we’ve identified as likely to accept an offer to carry a meter or keep a diary. The greatest number agreed that music stations should offer an escape from politics and serve as an oasis from the current turmoil in Washington DC. While there are morning shows that wade into the political humor space, these data suggest extreme care on that front.

For now, music radio listeners want a break from the relentless attention media outlets are giving to politics. Nearly as many agreed that they’d listen more to a music station that promotes unity and inclusiveness instead of division and discord. And while the overall numbers are a little smaller, there’s a sizable group that agreed they’d listen more to a music station that takes a stand against sexual harassment and gender discrimination.

We’re showing the data among the PPM likely portion of the sample and sorted into music station format P1 groups. The results are substantially the same among the subset who model through as likely to participate in Diary methodology. In order to have sufficient sample, we’ve combined some format P1 groups – AC and Hot AC, Rock and Alt and “Library” (Classic Rock, Classic Hits and Jack-type 80’s-centered stations). You can see how strongly these ideas resonated in some formats.

As you may have expected, unity/inclusiveness positioning played very well among PPM-likely Rock and Alt P1’s. And anti-gender-discrimination positioning was potent among the young, female constituency of CHR P1’s (and Rhythmic CHR’s as well). And while the anti-gender-discrimination messaging only stirred half the Country P1’s, the offer of an escape from politics connected with all but a few of them.

We’ll disclaim that these data were collected in early January of this year, but certainly the level of turmoil and division hasn’t calmed any since then. While these ideas won’t take the place of describing what it is your station does for listeners, they can be powerful add-ons that connect with listeners and bring them together while setting your station apart from your competition. And isn’t having positioning that sets your station apart from its competition (including Spotify, Pandora and others) an important goal in 2019?