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Research on Voice-Tracking?

The following is from today’s Radio Business Report:

Listeners give voice-tracking a thumbs down

Research by Paragon Media Strategies has found that many listeners don’t like voice-tracking and would find music stations less attractive if they air DJs who aren’t live and local.

The survey of 400 people ages 15-64 found that 41% said they would find a station less appealing if it used voice-tracking. People who say they listen to DJs and find them an important part of their radio listening experience were more critical of voice-tracking. 54% of them said it made a station less attractive, while only 39% said it wouldn’t affect their opinion.

Generally, listeners like the idea of live and local DJs. 77% said they preferred to have DJs who live in and are a part of their own community and 74% said DJs should be live, not recorded. However, 66% also agreed that stations should air the most entertaining DJs, regardless of whether they or live or voice-tracked, and 59% said they wanted the most entertaining DJs, regardless of where their show comes from.

In fairness, this is as much of the study as I’ve seen. I have not read it, so take this criticism for what it’s worth.

But come on.

You can’t ask people if they’d rather have local humans talking to them or remote recordings masquerading as local humans and expect anything other than a predictably negative response.

Of COURSE a station is viewed as less appealing if I discover it’s voice-tracking because that implies it’s trying to FOOL me, and I don’t want to play the fool, now do I?

Likewise, of COURSE folks would prefer to hear the most entertaining DJ’s, regardless whether they’re local or voice-tracked. But is there anyone reading this who actually believes that most voice-tracking brings us “the most entertaining DJ’s”?

What I read above of this survey suggests people are really being asked the following:

1. Do you like to be fooled by your local radio station? 2. Do you like better DJ’s more than worse ones?

If you don’t know the answers to those questions, you shouldn’t be in the broadcasting or the research business.

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