How Many People Have You Delighted Today?

We’re working ahead on issues we’ll be tackling in NuVoodoo Ratings Prospects Study XIII. We’ll be putting that new study into the field on the other side of the holidays at the end of the year. We want to look at some new Social Media platforms that seem to be gaining attention. We want to a deeper dive into radio’s competition from digital music services and podcasts. We also want to continue our focus on finding the unique things that broadcast radio has to offer that makes it different and special for listeners.

A Country radio consultant reached out a few days back asking if we’d ever updated our look at how often radio surprises listeners – in a good way – with something other than a song. We looked at that back in 2014 and saw that less than 40% overall in our sample of 14-54’s recalled some pleasant non-music surprise from the radio in the prior week. We expected stronger results in some music formats, but saw nothing better than 44% and some notably lower results, like the 27% among Country P1’s. Are these missed opportunities?

Within the non-music elements on a station, stations typically talk about what differentiates the station from the competition and about upcoming contests, appearances and promotions. Why can’t these things become pleasant surprises for listeners? With people stretched thin it’s easy to succumb to writing promos and liners and other imaging the way we’ve always done it. By doing so, we miss opportunities to bond with listeners – to surprise and delight them.

What’s important to them? What are their aspirations? What do they strive to do daily in their lives? What makes them happy? What attitudes are resonant among your most important listeners? It’s easy to learn just by asking them – in your station’s research or a quick poll posted on the station’s website.

If you found out, for example, that feeling attractive is important for much of your target audience, wouldn’t you pander to that in station promotions? If you found out that they wish they had more time to devote to keeping fit, wouldn’t that suggest ideas? If you found that they worry about how they’re going to pay for their kids’ college, couldn’t that unlock some promotional concepts? What things do they love – or hate? What things about your local market make them feel great – or annoyed?

Give yourself the latitude to explore things that seem personal. Do they sing out loud with the station when no one can hear them? Are they secretly envious of people who have the nerve to do karaoke?  Do they ever dance when listening to music when no one’s around? Do they wish they had more time or more opportunities to do these things?

As you increase the depth of what you know about your listeners, your palette of attitudes and ideas to reflect becomes bigger and richer, meaning that you have more ways to touch more of your audience in a given day… increasing the likelihood that you can pleasantly surprise them every day.  Most people come to the radio hoping to enhance their mood. These pleasant surprises baked into the station could become addictive.