Cooking in an unfamiliar kitchen
Now please wash your hands.
It’s really hard to get listeners to switch station.
There are plenty of practical reasons for this. Not least that radio consumption is habitual and heavily ingrained into daily life.
Listen to a new station and you’re cooking in someone else’s kitchen: all the things you need will be there but they’re in unfamiliar places. And you’re really not used to an Aga.
Secondly, listeners treat radio as an extension of their social circles. Radio provides companionship so changing your station is sacking your friends.
But that’s enough domestic metaphors. One of the greatest barriers to change is a truth as flattering to programmers as it is deeply infuriating to marketers. It’s this:
On the whole listeners are perfectly satisfied with their existing radio station.
The US agency Mark Kassof and Co. recently carried out a piece of work to ask radio listeners exactly how satisfied. Here’s what they found:
Nearly half the sample was totally satisfied with their favourite radio station and 81% was largely satisfied.
Only 3% showed any significant signs of dissatisfaction, yet even they were still listening.
What’s the betting that many people are more satisfied with their favourite radio station than they are with their bank, or their partner or their own life? We’ll find out in a few weeks when the Office for National Statistics publishes the results of its national happiness survey.
Meanwhile, against this inertia is there any way we can possibly persuade people to change their favourite radio station?
Yes there is. And that’s what I’ll look at next time.