Are Requests Still Potent?

The great stations have always done it: included listeners as part of the fabric of their on-air presentation. Listener voices and implied listener presence (talking about listeners’ input and connection with stations) made radio interactive before folks used the word interactive. We at NuVoodoo have shown compelling data for reviving (or increasing) the use of shout-outs, as an easy way to increase interactivity.

So, it’s not that surprising that a colleague in Canada sent this link from The National Post there. The article talks about the community aspect of requests on the radio, as an explanation of why requests persist in an age when nearly anyone can hear the exact song they want instantaneously without turning on a radio. The data below from NuVoodoo Ratings Prospects Study 11 last year show that many listeners say they’ve had their TSL changed positively in expectation of hearing a request they or a friend made. The numbers get even more interesting among those likely to accept a meter or diary – especially when you remember that the cost of this tactic is zero.

You’ll need to install mechanisms to minimize the number of outliers (those titles you’ll never play) and maximize attribution of songs already scheduled. There are strong digital tools to ensure listeners hear their attribution on the air (texting them as it’s about to play, emailing them audio of the on-air attribution, etc., easy ways to share word of their bit of on-air fame with friends). As we wrote two weeks ago, inciting tune-in one person at a time isn’t a remedy for goosing a particular month – it’s a long-term commitment. But it’s a powerful tool for building the sense of community on your station.

We’ll be asking again about requests and shout-outs and other low-cost programming tactics in our 15th Ratings Prospects Study that we’re preparing to field at the start of 2020. And we’re asking for your input on what other questions you’d like us to explore in that study of over 3,000 respondents. You’ll find a short survey at:

The questionnaire includes a page gathering your interest in different areas. On the second and final page, there’s ample opportunity for you to weigh in open-ended about what you’d like us to cover. We’re fairly certain you’ll be done in less than five minutes. If there’s a specific question you’d like to see addressed, please let us know.  Anything related to on-air content, station promotion and marketing or ratings participation is fair game.

Over the past 14 studies, we’ve studied what digital channels get used most by likely Nielsen ratings participants, the radio station marketing messages that have actually caused them to change their listening and what motivates them to participate in the radio ratings to begin with. We’ll continue to dive deep on trends with Smart Speakers, the best contest prizes and the best contest-activation methods. And for our 15th study, we want to incorporate as many of your questions as we can: