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Content Development Using Scarborough

January 12, 2023

In our previous blog, Karen outlined the new categories available in Scarborough. While this is traditionally a sales tool used to generate category ideas, Scarborough is also a great tool for savvy programmers.

We all know the cliché “content is king.” What we need to add is – content is hard. The ravenous demand for content has never been greater. Generating salient and consistent content has become an art form.

This is where Scarborough can be a boon to programmers and on-air performers. The latest report has been released to all markets. Here are some ways you can use the data to improve your product.

Scarborough goes beyond the basic demographics of age, gender, and ethnicity. For example, how does your station index with groups like “soccer moms,” “empty nesters,” or “single parents”? These groups are all living different lives with different needs. What kind of content can you generate that will push their buttons? Conversely, if your station indexes low in, say, “movie buffs” or “amusement park enthusiasts,” you may want to avoid any promotions that focus on those categories.

If you’re a talk station, it would be helpful to know how you index with “potential voters” or “reliable independent voters.”

Scarborough can be a wealth of information on topics for Sports stations. How do your fans index on NASCAR, MMA, or Soccer (OK, fútbol)? Do they gamble? If so, what is their preferred platform for on-line betting?

Today, radio must generate (or repurpose) content over a wider variety of platforms than ever before. There is an entire category called “Social Media Activities Past 12 Months.” Are your listeners more likely to comment on a post, read a blog, or purchase something from an ad on Social Media?

Sometimes a strong category can intersect with an air talent’s personal interests. Niche categories like “dairy free,” “keto,” or “vegan” can lead to video or podcasting ideas. The same thought process can be applied to activities like “arts & crafts,” “photography,” or “genealogy.”

There are literally hundreds of categories in Scarborough that can be used to more precisely define the primary interests (or dis-interests) of your audience. I have barely scratched the surface of what you can discover. While the participants in this research are not part of the PPM panel, the data will help you and your staff generate ideas.

Most programmers ignore this. I certainly did in my day. But think of what this tool could yield when put in the hands of creative talent.

-Steve Allan, Programming Research Consultant