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The Importance of Listener Databases

June 3, 2021

In business today, companies pay dearly to learn about their customers. Understanding their consumer base is a tremendous selling point for most digital sales teams.

Most radio stations used to maintain a database of listeners, contest players, or fans of the format. These days, programming teams are stretched so thin and many stations no longer actively maintain their listener databases. I’m shocked when I have a conversation with a PD and they say, “Yep, I know it’s important, but I just don’t have the time.”

I would contend that, in this age of digital data, a listener database is more important than ever before. There are several reasons for this…

  • Personalize your station to them: Remember, many listeners consider their favorite radio station a companion. Collect the relevant information and you can reach out to individuals on special occasions. Ever think of sending listeners best wishes on their birthday or anniversary?
  • Promote events and on-air programs: Having a special guest on your air? Or making a change to your line-up? Let your listeners know. Make those in your listener database feel special. Invite them to relatable events, especially when it is geographically advantageous.
  • Off-air client promotions: How often have advertisers asked for promotions that may have a negative impact on your on-air sound? Move these types of promotions off air and involve your listener database. Telling an advertiser that you regularly reach out to your fans more than just through social media can be a real plus.
  • Share listener characteristics with advertisers: Knowing where your listeners live (beyond those being surveyed by Nielsen) and where they work can help close business when the location of the listener is important to the advertiser.

While many stations use social media for some of these functions, gathering data on your listeners outside of social media can be the key to success.

Being able to touch your listeners by sending them a personalized invitation and making them feel special is more important than ever before. Everyone is competing for their ears. Not only are competitive radio stations trying to steal them, but you also want to differentiate your station from the pureplays. These days, you need to give them more than just music. Nothing is more powerful than making people feel important.

Is this more work, at a time when nobody has an extra minute? YES! However, the potential rewards of maintaining listeners and bringing them back to the station on more occasions can boost both ratings and billing.

-Charlie Sislen, Partner