Do you Talk to your Listeners?

“Will you talk to me?”

I mean, one-on-one?

It’s my observation that most program directors spend infinitely more time talking to the ratings reports than talking to actual listeners.  Needless to say, this confuses input (listeners) and outcome (ratings).

As a practitioner of consumer research, I’m not foolish enough to believe that one conversation with one listener represents a fact, but it does represent a story.  And the sum total of all listener behavior is the sum total of those stories.  So if you don’t start asking for stories, you’ll never understand why people do what they do, and God knows the ratings will never tell you.

So talk to your listeners.

Ask them what they like and don’t like about your brand.  What could you do to improve?

Ask them if they can imagine living without your brand, and if so, why?

Ask them what your brand provides to their lives that they don’t, can’t, or won’t get from any other place.

Ask them how they use radio today relative to all the other techno-distractions of everyday life.

Stop waiting around for trends to lead you and start leading the trends.

Because before a trend is a trend, it’s a story.

And stories happen one listener – one consumer – at a time.

* = required field
  • Robertdedus


  • Robertdedus


  • Jim Morrison

    Morning Mark – thanks for the reminder. During a conversation with a GM on this subject we approached examples with a station composite air check (remember these? Back in day we actually used them to train and grow talent…another rant for another day….) 

    Here’s the score card:    Morning show: Host said his own name 6 times in two minutes. Midday: Personality used the pronoun “I” 9 times in one break – on a music station.Marketing is a dialogue – finally! Talk with (not at) your listeners.  And more importantly, listen. Best regards,Jim MorrisonAtlanta 

  • Thanks Jim!

    Mark Ramsey

  • Don Keith

    Not to pick nits, but I think, instead of talking TO your listeners (and potential listeners!), you should talk WITH them…on the air, in research, at every opportunity.  Anyone in media today must learn some simple concepts:  1) Talk WITH your audience/potential audience, not AT them, 2) You are no longer in the BROADcasting business, 3) Everything you do should be an attempt to identify and solve the PROBLEMS of those folks, and 4) Your mission is no longer to get a higher Arbitron share than your radio competitors.  It is now to build a “tribe” that “subscribes” to your content…one big enough and loyal enough that you can market them and their response to advertisers who want to reach and influence them.

    Don Keith

Dive Into The Blog