Back to School: How Seasonal Change Creates Opportunities

There are 130 million commuters in America and 75% drive to work alone in a car. With an avg. commute of 28 minutes each way, radio continues to serve as their primary companion, while providing much needed music, news and enjoyment.

After all, radio is the 800 pound audio gorilla, dominating both usage and profitability. However, with car makers continuing to roll out connected cars, smart phones now representing 87% of all U.S. mobile phone sales, as well as every amjor digital brand rolling out a streaming audio service, the landscape continues to evolve.

In the meantime, with August here and school set to begin, we know the daily routines of many Nielsen households will change accordingly.

In addition, we also know that P1’s consistently change their top preference (58% every two months), which is another reason stations can’t take the loyalty of their existing listeners and database members for granted.

As a result, when a predictable lifestyle switch is set to occur along with what we know about switching behavior in general, a tremendous opportunity awaits.

After all, if you are not super serving them, someone else will.

Take for example the Fast Company Second Shift Blog, which focuses on “How working parents tackle the challenges of juggling career and family.” With employed persons serving as the backbone of radio listening, it’s certainly a relevant topic for many stations.

Recently, writer Catherine Crawford posted a blog about how parents can maximize their commute, Creative Ways To Turn Your Commute From Hell Into Productive “Me Time”. Although several of her suggestions involve audio consumption, none of them involve listening to radio.

When it comes to getting your news, she recommends the New York Times audio app from Audible with coverage of the day’s events. For podcasts, she recommends Ted Talks, “Stuff You Missed in History Class” both of which “can turn a dull commute into a fascinating half hour of discovery.”

For those looking for a music fix, the author recommends working on your “karaoke repertoire”, which is a fun and constructive use of time. Last but not least, the column suggests that commuters should space out and think about nothing as a healthy alternative to multi-tasking and always being on.

Truthfully, I don’t know whose job it is to do PR for radio, so that the impact we have on the lives of our audience is not overlooked in columns such as this one.

However, I do know the amazing impact stations have each day on the lives of the audience. In fact, every time we engage an Amplifier and get heartfelt feedback about how important the station is to their daily life it serves as a subtle reminder on the power of the product.

Radio has an amazing story, but every time a station email newsletter goes out with minimal compelling content, it’s a missed opportunity.

When we think about seasonal changes in listening without considering what those changes mean in the lives of the audience, it’s another chance for us to get better and enhance the value proposition that we offer.

The start of another school year is just around the corner. Anticipated seasonal events like this provide an opportunity to generate increased listening from your current P1’s and recruit and engage your P2’s and P3’s.

What do you provide better than any other brand and how do you communicate that with your current and potential audience?

For more information, please contact Andrew Curran, President and COO at DMR/Interactive.

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