Some good news on radio listening
There was some good news for the radio industry recently: according to one survey, radio listening during the pandemic-related lockdown has rebounded somewhat, and was the only mass media to show an increase outside of video streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu.
In some ways it makes sense … after an initial bout watching television programs and cable news, I, myself, tired of the repetition (and let’s face it … depressing news abounds) of so many programs and news channels. So moving to other sources is logical. Considering that radio was among the hardest hit, it would follow that people would re-discover their favorite stations and escape from bad news. Music in particular has always been my great escape.
Additionally, with cities and states opening up — and some people just ignoring the stay at home orders — in-car listening was bound to recover.
According to an on-line survey of roughly 16,000 radio listeners in the United States and Canada taken by Jacobs Media and sponsored by the Radio Advertising Bureau, during the time period of May 14-16, fully 26 percent of those surveyed stated that they are listening more to their “home station” — the station that sent them the survey — while only 15 percent said they listen less. In April, only 18 percent said they listened more.
In addition, in every measure, including in-car, at home, streaming, or regular listening outside the home, respondents said that they were listening more than they were in April. Highlighting how listening is changing with new technology, fully 14 percent said that they now listen on a smart speaker such as a HomePod, Alexa or Google system.
The survey is not perfect. The fact that the respondents came from listeners who are already considered “loyal,” meaning those who are already in a station’s listener database, most likely registered via a station’s own website. That means the survey is not representative of the population in general. Even non-AP stats students know the survey thus is flawed.
Indeed, ratings company Nielsen continues to show the total number of listeners to radio is down. But, and this is big, Nielsen only releases general reports monthly, and the last report was May 11 … the next release won’t be until mid-June. Said one local programmer, though, in addition to already being an unrepresentative sample, there are two other issues that could affect the the results: “listeners are not putting a stopwatch to their listening, and they may just be nice.”
But it’s still a glimpse of good news in an industry desperately needing good news.
KLOS (95.5 FM) appears to be headed in the same direction as KROQ (106.7 FM): total meltdown.
To absolutely no-one’s surprise, Frorty Stillwell is gone, not just furloughed. I predicted such when he left the show in March. This means the morning show is back to being just “Heidi and Frank.”
News this week comes that afternoon personality Gary Moore, and weekenders Frazier Smith and Jim “JD” Daniels have been permanently let go as well.
What’s going on? It appears that KLOS wants t break all ties with the past, similar t what is happening with KROQ. Will this mean a new direction for the station? I see two ways it could go. 1) Continue playing the same music I heard in high school but with either no personalities or young guys who work cheap, or 2) Actually actively program to attract new listeners, and in that case assemble an air staff that reflects the new direction you hope to go.
There is a third option, and that is a totally new format. Right now I don’t see that happening, but it is a possibility. Knowing the direction radio is going, my hunch is it will be option one above. Why? Because in today’s atmosphere, cheapness rules. The good side of that?Another station can come in and do something creative even easier. The best stations of the past always came from earlier failures … it can happen again.
I just saw some KNXFM.93.com t-shirts …. What’s up with that? Hmm …