Reverse the downward trend in listeners. day three


In our continuing series with industry leaders on the Jacobs Media Techsurvey 2022 last week, which showed a downward trend in radio listening, today we hear from Bud Walters, Lee Abrams and Alan Burns .

Here’s what Cromwell CEO Bud Walters thinks the radio industry needs to improve today to stop the trend of listeners moving to other audio sources…

1) Technology on the dashboard. The visuals that accompany our shows should be as current and visually provocative as anything from Apple, Google, Sirius, Spotify, etc.

Cromwell CEO Bud Walters

2) Localism that sets us apart. Music can be obtained on multiple platforms.

What happens between songs should be locally usable and relevant to those who choose to listen.

  1. Replace “Consumer/Supporter/User” with “Listener”. From our various broadcast and digital platforms, we need people to engage with us. They may not listen every day, but they use our website or some of our services. We want more listeners/consumers/supporters/users if our brands are ubiquitous locally. Easier to do in a smaller market than a top 50 market.
  1. Promote, promote, promote and get involved in the community
Lee Abram

6 tips for retaining listeners from legendary programmer Lee Abrams
1) Create “full” stations rather than abbreviated stations. From a 360 credential assessment that assesses and rethinks literally every aspect of a station, from visual identity to street presence to music to maximize every part of the day and beyond. Go through the exercise of a living autopsy that dissects every aspect of the station and a plan to deal with anything that isn’t brilliant.

2) AFDI. (Actually, I’m screwed to do it). When you rate your station without bias, there will be problems. Address yourself aggressively. Too often they are minimized by overthinking, fear, over-seeking, or one of dozens of excuses. “It costs too much” is weak because gray matter costs nothing. It takes commitment and courage

3) It’s the blind leading the blind musically. Go out and figure out what the 2022 lens wants to hear rather than follow the sheep, or even worse, the 1980s music manual. Get off musical autopilot and guess based on what worked before

4) Just because your tower is in a local location doesn’t mean you’re hip-bound with local listeners. It takes work. One of the reasons XM was so happy is that a lot of local radio was generic and didn’t capitalize on their advantages…including being local.

5) Get rid of your tired radio reading book addiction. It was written decades ago. The last time it was rewritten in the industry was in 1970. Since then there have been tweaks and catchphrases instead of creating the new playbook for the new Wild West that we’re in find. Kill denial, the playbook is tired. Think like a McLendon

6) Your digital presence is irrelevant if the main product (the station) is not performing at a brilliant level

Alan Burns

Alan Burns of Alan Burns and Associates….
Develop and showcase more personalities. As Jacobs’ Techsurvey points out, DJs/hosts/shows are the #1 reason people say it’s the biggest driver of their radio listening. Consumers can get music from many other sources that have little or no ads…but a great local radio personality can only be found in one place.

Too many people say “there aren’t enough personalities” and they’re right in a way: if you keep looking in the same place, you’ll always find the same people. We have to look outside the industry and be prepared to spend time on development.

More attention to the public. Our content analyzes of music radios continue to show that the most discussed subject on these radios is themselves. Positioning, imagery, contests and promotions, digital products, etc., i.e. what station fact – dominate outside of the morning commute. And during the morning commute, who do our high-profile personalities tend to talk to? Each other. Not the audience. Add that to the heavy commercial load and now-standard sales promotion messages, and we’ve turned the radio into a boring party guy who can’t stop talking about himself. Big companies focus on making the consumer happier.

Improve the radio’s sales effort. There are many highly professional salespeople and sales managers, but not enough. And not enough owners/managers who are willing to push for higher rates. Market leaders set prices; if the top three stations maintain their rates, it drives up the whole market. Higher tariffs reduce commercial costs, thereby reducing the cost of viewing. This is a long term effort, not a quick fix.

Discover the first day of our series HERE.
day two HERE


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