More Cars on the Road = More Radio Listening?

Unrecognizable black man driver turning on radio in auto

You probably saw the data from Nielsen last week indicating that commuting to work is getting closer to pre-pandemic levels. We’re hearing about companies that paused back-to-workplace plans to deal with the Delta variant now moving forward with employees coming back to the office. In short, the workday commute in a number of markets is feeling a lot like the workday commute was before the pandemic. If you pulled back on traffic reports during the worst of the pandemic, it’s probably time to return to your previous schedule.

We’re putting another NuVoodoo Quick-Turn Study in the field to get numbers to pair up with our observation about the weekday commute. We’ll also be asking about weekend traffic in this inquiry. It seems like there are a lot more cars on the road on weekends these days (and more cars in mall parking lots). We know more cars on the road correlates to more people listening to the radio while they drive.

If nothing else, it’s a reminder to check weekend traffic counts in your market. Are there pinch points heading toward malls, other shopping areas, sports arenas, etc.? If you have the luxury of live weekend talent, they should be checking in on local traffic and including advice on the air In the most extreme cases, you might consider adding a few traffic reports over the weekend.

It’s easy to let weekend talent go unchecked, but these fall weekends can be very active for families – and include lots of radio listening while they move about. Check music schedules carefully to make sure that there aren’t repeats at the same times of day on consecutive weekends. Music logs for Saturdays and Sundays need to be as perfect and pristine as those in the heart of weekday prime.

Establishing a sense of community on your station(s) over the weekend can be a powerful tactic. With many stations are voice-tracked on weekends, the sound of a person live in the studio sharing the day with the listener can be lost. Including shoutouts over the weekend takes planning, but helps convey the idea that your station is engaged with listeners.

Shoutouts need to be on-brand for your station, requiring different approaches for different formats – and being sensitive to the weekend activities of your specific audience. It’s about making connections. 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.