The Christian Radio Homepage

column archive








Brian Wright
Audience Development Group

Listeners Don't Really Listen





The names of some things imply the exact opposite of what they really are. Life is that way sometimes. Some examples are that we park on a driveway and we drive on a parkway? In the same context, the people that use your station are called "listeners" but "listeners" don't actually listen very much. As much as we'd like to not believe this, radio can be very much like an appliance, a light bulb or a microwave oven. We can't really expect them to listen intently to everything we do, like we in radio do. That's why Research can be misleading, because listeners will say one thing, but do another. It's not because they aren't telling the truth. Research asks them what they think, when in reality, they don't think as much as they react.


The job of an air Talent is to provide what the listener cares about, and then attach your "brand name" to it. The only thing that matters to your listeners are only things that matter to them. It really is this simple. The hard part is keeping it this simple and not get stifled by paralysis from over-analysis.  



When you talk about something on the air, make sure it's something the Listener CARES about hearing. Don't do it just because you want to talk about it, or just because you thought of funny line on the subject. It's not about YOU. It's about creating a connection in the listener's mind between your station and what the listener already wants to hear. That's why we do Traffic reports and Weather because people care about them. Coach your air talent to work the hardest on discovering and talking about things that their listeners actually care about. If the listener doesn't care, they won't hear. You'll be better off playing your jingle into their favorite song than talking about something that your audience doesn’t care about.



Now is the time to reconfigure your station so it accentuates the listener’s life instead of using the listener to accentuate your radio station. This will change the way you image your radio station, they way you promote it and all of your promotions as well. We’d be more than happy to talk to you about how to do this and what it can mean.


Brian is a 30 year radio veteran who has successfully served many companies over the years as Program Director, Operations Manger and VP of programming. After many years of success working for individual radio stations and clusters, Brian Joined one of the most trusted consulting firms in the country, Audience Development Group. For the last 15 years Wright has enjoyed building alliances with scores of stations in the US & Canada helping them grow in ratings and revenue. Contact Brian at