I have often heard it said over the years that radio personalities are the mortar that holds the bricks in place at a radio station, as far as the overall product is concerned. The meaning of this has always been that the personalities are simply the facilitator for the really important things like, music, promos, contests, etc. I believe it is time that we reexamine this.
Over the last few years the focus groups we have done show something very different. In fact, the overwhelming evidence, as described by the listeners themselves, is that personalities should NOT be viewed as the mortar that holds the bricks in place; instead…they should be viewed as the bricks themselves! Hundred of listeners have told us over and over again that the reason they turn on a radio station and come back to that radio station is because of the relationship they feel they have with one or more of personalities. Rarely do we hear music or anything else for that matter, superseding this. While it is true that music is exceedingly important, it seems to be more of the price of admission for the listener. They expect us to get the music right BUT it is not what generates the feeling of “belonging” and the ongoing relationship they have with your station.
Many times listeners will tell you that they really like your music but they go out of their way to tell you how much they love this personality and why. It’s the “why” part that is crucial to understand. Most of the time it has nothing to do with elaborate bits to create a big payoff. What almost always is the most magnetic with listeners is being relevant to their daily lives through normal conversation on the air. A story about a dad secretly crying while his son goes off to college leaves a lasting memory with a listener and creates a deeper bond and emotional connection. An elaborate bit about who gives the biggest tips in Hollywood may generate a chuckle but doesn’t get stored in the listener’s long term memory. The listener wants “what’s real and relevant.”
Knowing this information should generate a new level of enthusiasm and determination for all personalities. We have the ability make the listener’s life more enjoyable while they spend time with us. This is an opportunity that most people will never have! Make every minute count!
Brian Wright is a 30 year radio veteran who has successfully served many companies over the years as Program Director, Operations Manger and VP of programming.
After many years of success working for individual radio stations and clusters, Brian Joined one of the most trusted consulting firms in the country, Audience Development Group.
For the last 15 years Wright has enjoyed building alliances with scores of stations in the US & Canada helping them grow in ratings and revenue.