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Why AM/FM? Personalities - That's Why...



 
Monday, April 19, 2021
 
From everything you've read about the decline of broadcast radio listening, you would think - game over - streamers have won. Not so, according to Jacobs Media Strategies' Techsurvey 2021. Spotify, Apple, Amazon, SiriusXM and other streamers just might demand a recount...
 
A recount won't get very far because as Jacobs explains their methodology: "We give respondents a long list of potential reasons why they opt for broadcast radio over other options - and we ask them to identify the main driver for choosing a regular radio station."
 
While "DJs/Hosts/Shows" was the runner-up response in the Techsurvey with 61%, just behind the No. 1 response ("Easiest to listen to in-car" with 65%), similar responses finished strongly. "Feel a connection with radio", "Keeps me company" and "What's going on locally" finished with 52%, 46% and 37% respectively... 
 
Two-thirds of fans of CHR, urban AC and rock stations chose "DJs/Hosts/Shows" as their primary driver of broadcast radio. "It's personalities that have become highly proprietary," Jacobs stresses. "They are the difference-makers for so many radio stations. And they're the reason why more and more companies seek strong, habit-forming personalities, shows and hosts in dayparts outside of morning drive. It's also why syndicated talent has become so important in recent years. Anybody can duplicate your music, but it's the people behind the mic that are the secret sauce."
 
Because Techsurvey has been conducted for more than two decades, there are also observable trends in the Jacobs' research, in comparing those who say music is a main driver in listening to AM/FM radio versus those who say personalities are paramount, a clear trend has emerged: The appeal of music on radio is actually becoming secondary to the appeal of personalities. Choosing "I want to hear favorite songs and artists" on FM has dipped since 2014, from 70% choosing it as a top response to 55%. Meanwhile, "I like particular DJs, shows and hosts" has escalated. In 2021, the response has ticked up as the top tune-in reason from 57% to 61%...
 
Jacobs tells Inside Radio in his wrap-up: "In 2021, that's where the future of so many stations and radio companies rests - on their ability to not only nurture and grow their current cadre of personalities, but to also build and prepare for the future. Understanding your radio station's chemistry - its DNA - is the key to comprehending its current fate, as well as its future. And as programming veterans know, we have the power to alter the brand and its appeal - if we make the right calculated moves at the optimal time."
 
I(n)M(y)O(pinion):
  • The format of a radio station is important but the personality or DNA of that station is even more important...
  • There's a reason that Jacobs Media continues to offer a strong barometer on the current state of radio with their annual Techsurvey and its a reason I look forward to reading it every year... 
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