These Interesting Times

By Peter Don, BPR

For a while the business of radio virtually stopped ….  The impact of COVID and lockdown on radio advertising has been almost universally negative. By contrast radio listening has been stronger than it has been for years in most cases.

Various surveys and supported by anecdotal evidence have shown that the enforced lockdown has brought radio back into focus for many people – increased listening generally – both for information and music stations.

Time shifting with later starts to the working day – without a daily commute – later and longer breakfast/morning shows

More time at home  – longer time spent with radio during the day.

Music streaming increases BUT radio streaming increases more. Podcast listening increased but now patterns of listening and subject choice returns to a more normal pattern …

So what have you done to prepare to the return to more normal work and importantly listening patterns?

Listeners have rediscovered radio.

Radio delivers what listeners need – information, company and stimulation.


Radio listening increased in almost all markets and countries.

The COVID period has provided a great opportunity to refresh and renew at all levels.

Starting Over post-Covid; New radio stations have the advantage of being new and fresh – that ‘new station’ smell is appealing – think about how you can refresh and recreate focus and excitement.

Clear the Clutter: MARIE KONDO captured the imagination of most of the world with her approach to de-cluttering, be ruthless,, and get rid of what you don’t use. The radio version means focus on the core idea for your station & brand – particularly any promos and positioning messages. Throw out what you don’t need.

What’s the big idea; has this been lost or diluted over time? The simplicity of the message may be compromised with too-long or too many conflicting or confusing messages.

Do you need to need to modify or evolve the message to reflect the new reality – you can evolve but can’t contradict what you represent.

“When you try to be everything, you wind up being nothing.”
Al Ries, Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind

Programming should support core values- what is your USP – importantly what is your advantage ..  defend your strengths – attack the opportunities that may have been overlooked.

Are your brand offerings consistent with the core brand message – if you run digital streams under the main ‘brand’ or station name – do these make sense?  A rock station may be able to stream different versions of rock – New, Classic, Alternative etc, however other formats may send mixed messages if digital or streaming options are not ‘on-brand’.

Podcasts that carry your brand should also be consistent with branding and brand positioning.

Innovate; what can you do that you haven’t been doing up to now – what’s happened while you’ve been in lockdown, what does the ‘new’ version of your station sound like.

What is your advantage?  Defend your strengths – attack the opportunities..

Once again Ries and Trout have a view on that “The basic approach of positioning is not to create something new and different, but to manipulate what’s already up there in the mind, to retie the connections that already exist.”

MORE with LESS: personnel changes stand-downs and redundancies may mean doing more with less – focus is the key.

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