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Recapturing Listeners

August 11, 2020

While the term “normal” seems unsuitable, broadcasters need to figure out how to succeed with whatever comes next.

As lifestyles change yet again, there is a massive opportunity for programmers to grab higher shares for their station.

Since mid-March, people’s lifestyles have gone through a massive evolution. As workplaces shut down, most Americans’ daily activities shifted. Commutes to work, once a daily drudge, were replaced with either no work or telecommuting. We saw this lifestyle change in PPM markets as away-from-home listening plummeted. This away-from-home listening includes, but is not limited to, in-car and at-work listening, and, in the past few surveys, it has started to rebound.

If your station was a strong in-car or at-work station, you saw the impact on your ratings. Listeners’ habits changed. Simply put, your station stopped being a part of some of your listeners’ routines.

Now markets are opening up in fits and starts. Traffic is again becoming an issue, and office parking lots are starting to fill up again. This return to the new normal (I hate that term) offers broadcasters a tremendous opportunity to recapture these listeners and maybe gain new ones.

Whether it is in-car or at-work listening, it is time to remind your listeners that you are there. You should assume your competition is going to do that.

The first objection is often, “I get it, but I don’t have any marketing dollars.” Most stations have slashed or eliminated marketing budgets. If that is the case, build a strategy to reintroduce these listeners to your station with minimal dollars.

  • Have you maintained your listener database? If so, now is the perfect time to send them a message.
  • Do you have a relationship with a local restaurant? Build a promotion to deliver food to open offices.
  • Do you have station vans? For the cost of gas, you can have interns driving them on the main commuter roads during rush hour.

Don’t let the lack of money diminish this opportunity.

This is also an opportunity to steal listeners who were previously listening to your competitor. Protect your flank and attack the competition.

Several times so far I have used the term opportunity. That is precisely what this is. People are forming new habits. Make sure that listening to your radio station is one of them.

Rarely does a large portion of the population change lifestyles at the same time. We saw this in March with a negative outcome. Now we can take advantage of this change in lifestyles for a positive outcome.

We invite you to share your thoughts below or reach out to us here to continue the discussion.

-Charlie Sislen, Partner