Raising Your Listeners’ Loyalty & Engagement

Technology. So often, we get caught up in the glittering coolness of it, instead of just putting it to use in practical, helpful ways. As an industry, we radio folks tend to use our digital tools much less strategically than other media.

WHAT TV IS DOING

Many TV shows and networks are working to create “second screen” experiences for their viewers. “Second screening” happens when someone watches a TV show on one screen, and interacts online on another device. With smartphones and tablets in the hands of more and more people, this is happening more frequently all the time.

When there’s a social media conversation to be had about what you’re watching, or some other way to be involved in the TV brand at the same time on two screens, it’s a powerful loyalty-builder. Even though television broadcasting is still a one-way medium, that industry is making itself as interactive as possible using the same tools we have.

ONE WAY RADIO CAN “SECOND SCREEN”

Daniel Anstandig, CEO of Listener Driven Radio, believes that his product gives audiences “a greater sense of ownership and loyalty” to their favorite radio brands. I would agree. LDR allows stations to do “crowdcasting,” where fans use their computer, tablet or phone to help pick the music a station will play (within boundaries that the program director sets up).

Most radio station content that’s designed for digital consumption is still on the broadcast model. We send it to you, the listener, and you take it in. Even in social media, we tend to talk at our fans (“Hey, look at this!”) instead of engaging with them (“What do you think?”). To tap into the loyalty and passion that TV has unlocked, we need to use digital tools to allow listeners to contribute more meaningfully to the brand.

Astandig reports that using LDR to build interaction results in increases in radio shares, social sharing and revenue, too. He sees average quarter hour increases of more than 100% in the dayparts that his clients are using LDR.

MY EXPERIENCE

Hubbard’s Variety Hits station in St. Louis, 106.5 The Arch, uses LDR to create its 8p-midnight playlist. So the other night, while I was working on some other stuff, I pulled up their stream and logged on to 1065thearch.com. The LDR interface popped right up, including a screen with songs lined up waiting to be rated thumbs up or down.

I’ve programmed and listened to a lot of radio, and I’m pretty jaded about our industry’s usual box of tricks. This was completely different. While working on some projects I needed to get done, my attention kept getting sucked back in to The Arch. I was enjoying both rating the music and hearing what got played as a result. The next morning, I found myself wishing that I could do that again immediately, instead of waiting for 8pm to roll around.

The Arch, using LDR, made it possible for me to “second screen” with them over their most powerful ingredient … music. They didn’t need a DJ to make it happen; I didn’t need to phone anyone. They didn’t need to add extra talk; I didn’t need to stop what I was doing to take part.

As with any new tool, you still have to make it an integrated part of your product; just having digital tools doesn’t cause people to use them. However, for stations caught up in a haze of sameness and stasis, a tool like LDR could dramatically change the rules.

UPDATE:  For more on the “second screen” phenomenon for radio:

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