How To Keep Your Radio Audience Engaged

So you have a traditional radio spot, an internet radio station, show, or podcast, and now you need to know how to make newcomers loyal listeners. This article outlines the most essential steps to make your brand’s listeners wanting to tune in regularly.

Know Your Ideal Listener

Coming up with show concepts is an art form. Beyond that, it’s a must to know exactly who would be tuning into your concept. You will want to both explore which listeners are likely to tune in every week and also which companies and brands would want to target them if you are considering getting sponsors. Basic demographics to consider are geographic areas likely to tune in, races, music preference, gender, and age. After you’ve profiled your ideal listener in these more general areas, you can consider their interests and lifestyle more in-depth. Google photos of what your ideal listener might look like and pin them around your station or in your home where you are likely to see them before going off to broadcast. Over time, you can use real pictures of actual listeners of your show!

Respond To “Mail” and Partner With Their Favorites

Shaping a show your audience loves will take some participation from the audience, and you must listen to their feedback. Positive and negative comments, emails, reviews, or snail mail, should be responded to on a regular basis. As you grow in popularity, you may not be able to them all. Just let your listeners know you do carve time to read them. Satisfy listeners by attempting to partner with their favorite role models, companies, and brands, either in the form of an interview, advertising spots, offers, or events.

Promote a Sense of Community

Emodus Research company committed time in 2013 to understand more thoroughly the bond between NPR and its listeners. According to the study, listeners who are more emotionally connected to a station have a stronger bond than with local, traditional stations that move them to donate at a rate of 4 times the amount than satisfied listeners. This is the difference between satisfied listeners and brand loyal listeners.

You can achieve these results by first completing the previous two suggestions, and continuing to make the station interactive for listeners in innovative ways that maybe others are, or are not doing.

Give Them More Ways To Devour Your Content director and radio futurologist, James Cridland, says “Don’t waste your time on which platform is the future, because the answer is: all of them. Radio’s future is a multi-platform future. The right platform, for the right person, right now.” Blogs, videos, individual Facebook accounts and forum user accounts, articles, newsletters and email campaigns are all ways for your fans to stay connected on a more personal and regular basis, further solidifying their level of brand loyalty.

Promote Your Show!

So many radio personalities think sitting on a show is enough to attract listeners and the truth is it’s not and it’s much less fun. Get out there and meet people at events! Donate air time to causes you and your listeners believe in! Brag about your accomplishments and happiest, most satisfying moments on air over your social media accounts! Promote your show however you like, but do promote your show/station.

The Difference Between a Podcast and an Internet Radio Show

Internet radio shows are just like traditional radio shows, transmitting either talk or music audio, only via the web instead of traditional airwaves. One of the biggest differences between internet radio shows and podcasts is this ability to transmit live audio. Broadcasting internet radio audio is called “webcasting” to differentiate it from traditional radio even further with etymology.

This technology is further separated from podcasting and is closer to traditional radio in the sense that the listener has no control over when or how they listen to the audio because it is continuously streaming, just like traditional radio. Listeners engage with online radio shows by typing or pasting the proper web address to summon the media player and you’re connected to their live show the moment you connect.

Time Commitment & Accessibility

Podcasts are downloadable audio files, a more “on demand” experience you have more control over as a listener. In an ideal world, your favorite internet radio shows will take advantage of this technology, too, and provide loyal listeners with the archived recording so that they, too, can download it and listen later or listen to it repeatedly if they want to. Most webcasting platforms do not offer this technology freely, so you will find that many radio shows are one and done. No recording will be saved to the internet or your computer. Webcasters must record their own shows to provide this feature.

The last concept is a big bonus on the side of podcast listeners, however, podcast shows are less predictable, making content available whenever they like which is often less frequently than their listeners would like. Internet radio shows have a set schedule they commit to and usually webcast for the same amount of time as well.

From The Content Creator’s Perspective

From a show creator’s perspective, there are benefits to both sides. Depending on the level of time they’re willing to commit, the past two concepts will be a large deciding factor. If their motivations are tied to businesses beyond their desire to share content, they may want to consider the size of the net that’s cast with each. Web-casting via internet radio show will allow you to capture a lot of listeners at one time. If this is important to you, or if you are selling or plan to sell advertising segments within the show, internet radio is the way to go. Podcasts only reach one person at a time because they require a download, and this is not ideal for selling advertising segments.

Understanding a Listener’s Motivation

As a webcaster, you’ll need to understand your audience’s motivation behind listening to your show. With an internet radio station, you typically need to please the whole audience. Is your concept a crowd pleaser? Podcasting can be a little more specific, or niche, because the listener often seeks you or a certain topic out. Both are points to consider when formulating your whole brand and outlining “episodes”.