Recapture Lost Listening

 In Blog

My daughter Lauren works remotely for Bain & Company, a Global 500 business consulting firm with 15,000 employees. The majority of employees work on a hybrid or remote schedule with a small percentage required to be in the office daily.

Across North America, remote and hybrid work schedules look permanent, at least in the near future. Since the majority of radio listening occurs in the car, this cultural shift is particularly challenging.

In his recent post, DMR/Interactive’s Andrew Curran points out, “In market after market, when you compare Analysis Total and Market Total in a Nielsen Ranker, what appears? ENORMOUS LOST LISTENING.”


Yes, there are ways and methods to regain lost listeners and gain new ones. But the first strategy step for personality shows and radio stations to recapture lost listening is to strengthen and grow your current audience. The smart approach is to focus on fans/P1s who contribute up to 80% of your total listenership. It’s crucial to know who and where your biggest fans are.

  • Delve deeply into all the Nielsen data you have access to about your P1s.
  • With perceptual and music research, include a hefty percentage of P1s in the sample.
  • Use your database to communicate with heavy users.
  • No budget? Conduct listener panels at your station.


More than ever, people want to belong to a community. Loyalty campaigns are an effective vehicle to deepen fan allegiance and a way for fans of successful shows to express their love in a fun, funny, and sincere way. Furthermore, the bandwagon effect of these campaigns increases the probability of converting P2s to P1s.

You eliminate the need for traditional loyalty programs like Starbucks, CVS, and Amazon Prime when you hook the audience with the product itself and create an amazing listener experience.

Trusted voice radio shows have the opportunity to be more like Apple, a brand that has no rewards or incentives, yet enjoys one of the most fanatical and loyal following of any brand.


Loyalty campaign names can either sound inclusive or exclusive. For radio stations and shows, inclusive is the way to go. Kidd Kraddick pioneered this concept with KiddNation. Personality shows use club names like Pack, Posse, SquadCrew, BFF, and Tribe.

Catch phrases are also a fun way to greet listeners and make them feel part of a community. In Jeff McHugh’s earlier post, How’d You Get Your Catch Phrase, one of his examples was for The Men’s Room KISW Seattle, greeting callers with Hola Bicholas.


Setup and reset: Set it up by defining what your pack or squad is (“You’re a fan of the show, you listen at least four days a week for 20 minutes,” etc.). Consistently reset what your program is and how it works.

Greet callers with your loyalty program name, (e.g., “Hello, BFF Lisa from Evanston”). Callers will begin to name themselves: “Hi, it’s BFF Lisa.”

Photo by Ave Calvar on Unsplash

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