The Sweetest and Most Important Sound

A friend was complaining that the new owner of the station where he’s PD wants to add daily listener salutes. He’s concerned that they’ll sound “small market.” I recalled our NuVoodoo Ratings Prospects Study 11 from the winter of 2018 where we asked whether people have ever listened more to a radio station because they thought the station might give a shoutout to them or a friend.

The fact that 41% of the sample said they’ve listened more to a station in hopes of hearing their name should get your attention. When we drill down to those who modeled through our questions as being likely to accept a meter (“PPM: Yes”) or fill out a diary (“Diary: Yes”), the numbers get even more interesting – especially when you remember that the cost of this tactic is zero.

Inciting tune-in one person at a time isn’t a remedy for goosing a particular month – it’s a long-term commitment. And, of course, it’s a hit-or-miss proposition whether or not the intended recipient will even hear the shoutout. But, digital and Social Media have opened up interesting possibilities.

What if you recorded the shoutout and emailed a copy to the subject? That’s a pretty nice thing to get in your email. You can imagine someone playing it for friends and family. Even better would be a quick in-studio video of the shoutout that the person could share in Social Media. It might take some work to stage the exact angle in your studio with a nice look at the equipment, the talent looking good – and the station logo prominent in the shot.

Maybe it’s a message from co-workers about why they love a co-worker. Maybe it’s an utterly tongue-in-cheek message from co-workers on why someone is the worst co-worker ever. Maybe it’s some ridiculous message between spouses or lovers meant to embarrass one another. Such messages need to be on-brand for your station, requiring different approaches for different formats. It’s about creating content and making connections.

If your video is entertaining, good looking and easy to share, you’d stand a good chance of expanding the circle around that one shoutout when the recipient posts it on Social Media. And, if people see if and like it, they’ll be inclined to want to get in on the action themselves – so the video needs to include a sign-up link.

Dale Carnegie said, “A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” If you believe Carnegie, then you’re already sold on the power of getting listener names on the air. The 21st Century gives radio powerful tools to get wider distribution of the listeners we salute on the air.