Sunday, December 14, 2014

Defend This Hill

One of radio’s advantages is being a trusted and relied upon curator of content for your listeners.   For music stations, the music is the platform for that content distribution.  It is also the foundation that your relationship is built upon.  Listeners find your station because their experience with your music is positive and enriching in their lives.  For successful stations, a deeper relationship develops beyond the music; but music is at the core. 

The CMA Music Discovery Report* (Oct. 31,2014) confirmed that Radio is still the number one source for New Music Discovery (all formats):

However, that number is rapidly declining.  As recently as 2013 it was 67%.  The good news is that your listeners still trust you to find the type of new music they will enjoy.  Most people don’t have, or want to take, the time to become familiar with everything new; there is just too much out there.   They want you to do the work and feed them want is valuable.      

But the competition for sources of music listening is fierce:

Plus, while free music listening still wins by a large margin, the number of sources whittling away at that continue to increase, especially among country fans:

Radio is still at the top of the hill but the attack is fierce and relentless, particularly on the younger end.  So, what are you going to do about it?

If you work in the Programming, Promotions or Digital Department at a current based music station, you MUST immerse yourself in the music.  Pay attention to the trends in new artists and new music.  Choose three or four artists a year who you can introduce to your listeners both on and off the air.  Commit to interviews, live shows, playing their music and featuring them on your social sites.

When the station does “adopt” one of these new artists, take credit for the introduction by using branded intros on songs.  Produce liners and sweepers reminding the listeners that they are hearing “new music first” on your radio station.   Own “new music discovery” in the minds of your listeners. 

On-air talent, particularly morning shows, need to include artist interviews and music in content preparation.  Don’t treat the songs as “filler” between your breaks.  Relate to the music the way the listeners do.  Let them know that you are just as passionate about the music as they are; that you appreciate the fact that they trust you to help them discover what is new and powerful.  
Use your social networking sites to go beyond what you can include on the air.  Become the on-line network where they can share new music discovery with fellow listeners.  Create a community consistent with the brand of your station. 
More than one study has corroborated what the A&O&B Roadmap 2014 tells us about the importance of new music to the country P1’s:
Yes, your station needs to be familiar and hit driven in order to drive cume and TSL; however, you also need to make room for the hits of tomorrow.  Not only will you be delivering on an expectation that your listeners have of the radio station, you are creating the music base that will entice a new generation to stay with your station longer.
*Slides published with permission from the CMA.