New Trend: Get in the Companionship Business

 In Blog

“Podcasting has become the greatest companion medium because you can listen to a podcast and it can be a friend.” That’s a quote from Edison Research Senior VP Tom Webster speaking at the Podcast Movement conference this past Tuesday.

Radio’s greatest strength has always been its companionship factor. Unfortunately, many music radio stations have weakened this inherent strength in recent years by favoring glossy production over trusted voices.

In Jeff McHugh’s May 19, 2019 blog, he pointed out the growing trend of social isolation and how radio can respond to it. The pandemic has magnified this trend to epic proportions.

It’s post time that radio gets back to the humanity of connecting through companionship. So, we’re revisiting Jeff’s important message updated to reflect our current condition.


Personalities will be even more crucial to the success of AM/FM and podcasting in the future because of an increasing trend: social isolation.

40% of Americans reported in a 2018 study that they felt isolated from others and lacked companionship. The pandemic has greatly increased feelings of isolation and loneliness among listeners.

People report having fewer close friends today than in the past. The average has dropped from three BFFs to two. A Duke University study indicated that people have fewer friends outside the family than in the past.

Social media is intended to connect people but often leads users to feel more disconnected.

Modern lifestyles include screen addiction, long work commutes that limit civic engagement and more people living alone. Listeners are craving connection and upliftment.

Which of these would appeal more to a lonely person? 

  • A text-to-win contest or a familiar voice interacting with listeners in an interactive game?
  • Commercial-free Mondays or funny stories from a trusted on-air team?
  • Slick production between automated songs or a passionate, authentic human being? 

Measuring brain waves, social scientists say that the emotional bond between a listener and an authentic media personality is just as strong as a real-life relationship. People don’t have the same bond with songs and giveaways.

Humanity is the difference between AM/FM and rapidly growing online competitors like Spotify. Now even Spotify has created a radio-style morning show with hosts. Consider these tactics that can give your station and show more of a human connection.

Be you. Reveal your quirks, flaws, and endearing characteristics to relate and connect with listeners.

Maximize storytelling. Your personal stories, listener stories, trending and good news stories connect emotionally. All stories whether they’re dramatic or comedic, involve conflict and people taking actions.

Replace scripted with real. Instead of a big imaging voice, have your star morning show talk about your promotions in their own words. Rather than airing mostly produced imaging in music segments, enable your talents to be briefly present in music segments at least every other song. 

Photo by Andrea Tummons on Unsplash

Leave a Comment

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.