Social Network Usage, Repetition in Country Radio Playlists and Listeners’ Favorite/Least Favorite Artists Among Survey Results
(Nashville, TN – March 11, 2009) Country Radio Broadcasters, Inc.® and Edison Research announced the full results of their National Country Radio P1 Study last week at radio industry seminar CRS-40 in Nashville, Tenn.
According to Tom Webster, Vice President of Strategy and Marketing for Edison Research, the study revealed particularly noteworthy trends regarding repetition in country radio playlists, how listeners are finding new music, syndicated versus local programming and the importance of social networks.
“To me, the most surprising data from our research was the social networking statistics, but I was encouraged by how local stations performed, especially compared to syndicated shows and as elements of websites,” Webster said. “This is certainly going to be a ‘cocooning’ year for Americans, with lots of local ‘staycations’ and long weekends instead of long trips abroad.”
Added Rusty Walker, of Rusty Walker Programming and Chairman of CRB’s Research Committee, “This is one of the most complete and informational looks at country radio listeners I’ve ever seen! There are at least a half-dozen ‘Oh, Wow!’ points and many more ‘takeaways’ in this study. Everyone involved with Country Radio should spend time with this information.”
During his presentation, Webster announced four actionable items, summarized below, that stations should consider to help increase their listenership.
1) Leave Deeper Footprints. Marketing initiatives and promotions should be run through an additional “filter” to ensure that listeners are benefiting as much as possible from their local stations, Webster noted. “Stations should be asking themselves, ‘Does this help people?’ This is a great year to show America that Country cares,” he said. Of those surveyed, 84 percent agreed that country music “makes a positive contribution to American life.”
2) Expand Your Presence on Social Networks. According to the study, Facebook has overtaken Myspace as the most popular social network among the P1s surveyed, with 42 percent and 35 percent of the sample reporting profiles on the sites, respectively. Nearly two out of three respondents (62 percent) indicated having a profile on at least one social networking website. Webster encouraged stations to “listen, not blast” through their sites, and advocated a policy of hiring employees with “digital literacy.”
3) Take Repetition Seriously. Results of the study showed that 51 percent of those sampled agree that stations play certain songs to the point that it “becomes annoying.” Data from the Edison survey indicated that variety is increasingly important to listeners. “Stations have to do more than just talk about variety, they have to find ways to build a deeper bench,” Webster warned.
4) Think Visual. Although 87 percent of those surveyed reported radio was “often” their preferred outlet for discovering new music, Webster noted that visual exposure to the artists determined whether or not listeners actually liked the artist. Music video channels (45 percent) and network television appearances (27 percent) were the second and third most popular means of discovering new music, according to those surveyed. “Incorporate video elements of the artists wherever possible,” Webster said.
Local vs. Syndicated:
Data also indicated that listeners preferred local programming to syndicated shows, with 42 percent reporting syndicated programs were “not as good” as local shows. Only seven percent reported syndicated programming was “better” than local shows.
When polled about the idea of a new national country station being made available in their market, less than a third (31 percent) of the sample reported having an interest in such a show. Only seven percent indicated they would listen to a national country station “more” than their local station.
Besides music, survey respondents named local concert listings, information about upcoming releases and announcements about available releases as the three types of information most important to them on their favorite country radio station.
Facebook was listed as the most popular social network site, based on already-existing profiles set up by those surveyed. Myspace, Classmates, LinkedIn and Twitter were the other sites reported (in descending popularity). Thirty-eight percent of respondents did not have a profile on any social network. Slightly more than one-third of the sample indicated interest in a social networking component being made available to them on their station’s website.
“Although radio is still the most widely cited means of discovering new Country music, radio stations must learn to embrace social networks and interact with their listeners wherever those conversations are happening,” said Webster.
When asked about radio usage through the Internet, 79 percent of those surveyed reported listening to terrestrial radio stations online. Those listening “a few times per week” comprised the largest group of online radio listeners (27 percent).
According to those surveyed, concert listings, availability of artist/song title information and contests were listed as the three most important types of information posted on a radio station’s website.
Favorite/Least Favorite Artists:
Based on a scale of one to five, the National Country Radio P1 Study also revealed the sample’s favorite and least favorite country artists. As determined by average artist scores, the top five favorite artists of those surveyed were: Brad Paisley (4.5), George Strait (4.4), Brooks & Dunn (4.4), Alan Jackson (4.3) and Toby Keith (4.3). The five least favorite artists were: Jimmy Wayne (3.5), The Lost Trailers (3.4), Eric Church (3.4), Kid Rock (3.3) and The Dixie Chicks (2.8).
The most popular emerging artists that survey participants “first learned about in the last year or two” were (in descending order): Taylor Swift, Lady Antebellum, Sugarland, Carrie Underwood and The Zac Brown Band.
All-time favorites named by survey respondents (in descending order) were George Strait, Kenny Chesney, Garth Brooks, Toby Keith and Rascal Flatts.
This is the fourth year the National Country Radio P1 Study was conducted and presented at Country Radio Seminar®. Data was collected from more than 13,000 P1 listeners, age 12-64, between Jan. 31, 2009 and March 1, 2009 across 18 country radio station databases nationwide. The CRB/Edison Research survey is the largest ongoing Country Radio P1 study of its kind.
Full results of the 2009 study can be found at www.EdisonResearch.com or www.CRB.org.
About Edison Research:
Somerville, NJ-based Edison Research provides media research, consumer market research and public opinion polling to businesses, governments, and news organizations throughout the world. Edison is particularly renowned for its Exit Polling techniques, and is the worldwide leader in the application of Exit Polling to consumer research. To learn more about Edison visit www.EdisonResearch.com.
The Country Radio Broadcasters, Inc. ® is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization founded in 1969 to bring radio broadcasters from around the world together with the Country Music Industry to ensure vitality and promote growth in the Country Radio format. More information may be obtained at: www.CRB.org or at the CRB office at 615-327-4487.