The radio industry has undergone some significant changes over the past decade, with listeners now having more power than ever before to choose what they want to listen to. With so many digital radio devices now on the market, listeners are no longer bound by restrictions. - which means that radio brands are under greater pressure than ever before to remain relevant. This directly impacts the way radio station build their music playlist, as well as the way they target their audience.
To help create an accurate representation of your intended listener, you should gather some insight from those who would know. For example, survey current listeners to see if they are also in possession of similar characteristics or if their listening habits are very different. This will be essential when it comes time to define what type of music would best appeal to them. It’s important that you take into account both musical preferences and overall values when determining what kind of content you’ll serve up. The more specific your definition is, the easier it will be for you to create programming that appeals directly to these individuals. Ultimately, knowing exactly who listens will allow you to craft better music choices for them because their desires are already known!
To reach targeted listeners, you need to know who they are and what they like. Creating detailed demographic profiles for all of your desired listening groups is one of the most critical first steps in building a brand. You need to figure out who listens, how often, when they listen, where they are geographically located, what kind of music they prefer etc… For example an 18–24 year old female student might be interested in electronic dance music while an 65 year old male retiree might enjoy classic rock stations.
Most independent mass appeal audio brands target too broad of an audience. They start out by saying we play music for everyone and they never gain an audience because no one ever gets excited to be talked at in such a general way. Narrowcasting, on the other hand, is often much more effective because it appeals to very specific groups. The challenge is that without careful thought about how to narrowcast, you end up alienating your core listeners (and not gaining new ones). Even worse, you end up building something that looks like mainstream radio but doesn’t sound like it and has all of its bad qualities! To find success with targeting we need to focus on who we want to reach and how we want them to feel when they listen.
Brands want to appeal to as many people as possible, and that means being all things to all people. The big problem with that strategy is that it makes you meaningless to everybody. When you try to be something for everyone, you lose focus and thus become nothing for anybody. Know who you’re trying to reach before deciding what songs goes into your playlist. That way, you can direct your efforts more effectively toward those who need it most—which will help narrow your focus even further so even more of those efforts can go directly toward making an impact instead of just spreading thinly across a broad spectrum of people who aren’t really interested in what you have to offer anyway.
Once you know your listeners, you can craft music plans that reflect their taste. Your playlist might be different from other stations in town, but that’s ok. A common mistake with target audience is to try and satisfy all listeners at once. Too many stations play the top 40 chart to appease older listeners while targeting younger ones. The result? Boring radio! Make sure you are targeting your core listener first by providing them with music they enjoy, news they care about and features they look forward to hearing each day.