“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.