Even More Questions: And Even More Answers

Q&A or questions and answers concept .Selective focus of wooden alphabet and magnifying glass on wo

As we’ve been working on NuVoodoo Ratings Prospects Study 22, we realized that after 21 studies we’re able to answer at least some of the questions that have come up from our contacts in the radio business. The first of a series of NuVoodoo Live events where we try to answer some of these questions drops on Wednesday, June 28. This first session features me and NuVoodoo marketing guru Mike O’Connor. Future sessions will include research answers from Carolyn Gilbert and marketing ideas from PJ Kling.

We’ll start sharing data from the new study in late July and through the balance of the summer. In addition to updating the points we’ve been trending for years, we’re delving into new competitive concerns, new technologies, and new twists. In 2023, it’s time to challenge the assumptions we’ve made about programming, promotion, and marketing.

Here are our attempts to answer a couple more of the questions we’ve received from programmers and managers when we asked what they’d like us to ask listeners.

Q: How much talk do listeners want in the morning? What about in the late afternoon? A: We’d asked questions like this in the pre-DSP, pre-podcast days and we’d find that there’s a slightly higher tolerance (or expectation) that there’ll be more talk on radio in the morning. The truth is, however, that there’s never been any tolerance for blathering – PPM has laid that fact bare. If the talk isn’t entertaining, they don’t want any of it. If the talk is riveting, they want all of it. It’s all about entertainment.

You likely have data showing what percentage of your audience will enjoy hearing each of the songs you might play. Talk from the hosts is another matter entirely. Do your hosts need to mention the name of your station? Certainly, listeners need to know the station name, but if you’re in a PPM market your station name doesn’t factor into getting credit for listening in the ratings. Your talent is free to start a break with the most interesting thing they could say at that moment.

On-air talent plays a high stakes version of the old “beat the bomb” contest that radio used to employ. The longer the break goes on, the more likely “the bomb” will go off for the listener and they’ll tune out.

  • Service elements are often appreciated by listeners and generally get a pass here.
  • Station promotional elements are tough – ask yourself if they’re really entertaining or interesting (sometimes a one-to-one explanation from the talent conveys a promotional idea better than a cinematic promo).
  • Other content? It all depends on whether it’s interesting or entertaining to enough of the audience. Local research can help draw a roadmap here, but it’s ultimately up to the talent.

Q: What’s the most important thing to research for our Classic Hits station? A: The music. Getting the songs right is critical. All manner of influences come to bear here, from airplay history in the market, to the specific demos listening to your station, to the competitive array of stations in the market, to what’s been used by music supervisors for hot TV shows, and on and on. Careful use of airplay monitors for stations like yours can help when there’s absolutely no budget for research. But for under $10K our OMT Lite can test 400 titles with 100 properly screened respondents in your market.

We’ll start fielding RPS 22 this week, so if you have ideas about what you’d like to know from a big sample of radio listeners, there’s still time to share them with us. An email to leigh@nuvoodoo.com or cg@nuvoodoo.com gets our attention – and we promise it’ll also get you a response. We’ll be sharing the results of Ratings Prospects Study XXII on NuVoodoo Live events later this summer to help radio shape programming, promotion, and marketing plans for its fall report card from Nielsen.