Recently I was asked to speak to a group of broadcasters representing one format. “Tell us more about fans of our format,” I was asked.
But wait, why limit insights to fans of any one format just because that’s the only format in the room? This is not a research study, after all, it’s a presentation to radio managers whose job is to corral and focus consumer attention long enough to monetize it.
I don’t care what format your radio station chooses, your audience is still comprised of people – people with diverse tastes, people who spend their time with multiple formats, and – most of all – people who have choices that range beyond radio.
The hallmark of today’s media environment is that people with choices can find media which entertain and inform them from a variety of sources, only some of which will be radio-made. While the majority of your ratings may derive from fans, those fans are people first and format fans a very distant second. That means understanding what they have in common with all other people is every bit as important – perhaps more so – than understanding what makes them stand apart.
This is especially true when we are blind to so much of the attention our own listeners direct to media which are not radio. When it’s entertainment or information I’m seeking, it’s content that I want – everything else is just a distribution channel.
So if you are operating in Format X your primary concern should be: “How do I capture a greater slice of attention to my brand?” It should not be simply “Tell me something about my format fans I didn’t know.”
To hyper-focus our glare only on uber-fans is to ignore the shrinking edges for what’s left of the core. And blinders never facilitate a clear view of the future – just ask a horse.
Understand people first – what drives them, what they want, why they choose what they choose.
It’s the universal understandings that bring the greatest numbers of people together. That’s the difference between a “good show” and a blockbuster.