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The impact of “Stars” on radio

For a long time I’ve been arguing that the key for radio’s long term success is to invest in stars.

As this example from Arbitron’s PPM indicates, just a guest shot can spike ratings considerably.

Here’s what happened to the Cume of 104.1 KRBE-FM in Houston the day pop icon and former Jessica Simpson beau Nick Lachey was on:

According to Arbitron, on the day Nick appeared cume peaked at 196,900 listeners (the average Thursday cume audience for the KRBE morning show is 145,00 listeners).

This is evidence in favor of several of my points:

1. Stars matter. Star talent will draw listeners, whether those stars are hosts or guests. 2. Ratings are not either “high” or “low” but are, in fact, “high” one day (or even one hour) and “low” the next. Meaning that ratings success is the accumulation of doing A LOT of things right ALL the time, not simply doing ONE thing right ALL the time. 3. As ratings become the sum total of “moments” rather than the mirage of listening caused by lazy respondents drawing lines down an Arbitron page to reflect “uninterrupted listening,” what constitutes those moments will be critical, and radio will be, more than ever, about the details of content than about “consistency” per se. That is, a consistent image will be key, but consistent content will not.

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