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Emotional Rescue

Emotional Rescue

By now you’ve likely read the Westwood One blog that details the Mediaprobe Neuro study on the strength of radio. (If you haven’t, the link is at the end).

In short, radio programming is 13% more engaging than TV. As you dig a bit deeper into the data, you see that it is all about how radio is a more emotion-inducing medium than television.

This science confirms what many of us have believed (or known) for a long time. We pioneered “theater of the mind”. We have always been the broadcast medium that engages each listener at the one-to-one level.

The power of radio IS connection – through both content and production. As an industry, we have touted “live and local” as what differentiates us from other media. To an extent that is true but what made radio stand apart – and stand out – was (and is) personality.

We are talking people, people. The personality of the on-air performers. The personality of the production values of a station. The personality of the commercials. The overall stationality that draws a listener back time and again.

I would submit this should be an even bigger focus for radio as we have lost the monopoly on music.

The competitive media landscape is larger and more diverse than ever before. As has been said by many minds smarter than mine, the competition is not the station down the dial – it’s the smartphone, the smart TV, the smart car.

That does not mean radio does not still have a niche. After all, unlike most other media choices, radio remains free and ubiquitous. And, also unlike other media choices, radio can be consumed in conjunction with digital. You can browse while listening. Try browsing while watching a video.

We have watched the continued decline in AQH and TSL (AWTE) since the pandemic. We lament the fact that radio has become a 35+ medium. These are real warning signs.

They do not have to be death knells. This study provides us with a roadmap.

Radio is built for our short-attention-span world. There was a time when we would amaze and entertain over a ten-second intro. When real personalities were on (live) in every daypart. When the stuff that went between the records was as important as the records themselves.

We did it before. Why can’t we do it again?

If you would like to read the full study it is here.