Understanding How Your Audience Listens


“It does seem that number of occasions is now just as important as how long a P1 listens for each occasion. That’s an evolution with PPM.  Guys aren’t listening for 45 minutes. But they might listen for 6 minutes 3 times, which could amount to the same thing.”

Pete Gianesini, Senior Director, ESPN Radio Content and Operations

I honestly don’t think many in radio understand how listeners use their product nor do they understand who is listening and how best to serve them. So let’s dive in…

There’s a number of different types of listeners to your product. The two most important are known as P1s and P2s and BOTH are key to how you grow your audience.

The P1 listens often for long periods of time.  P1s often listen to you night and day for 4-8 hours or more per week. They traditionally drive 75% of your rating.
The P2 listens less often and for short periods of time.  P2s listen up to 4-hours per week.
The P1 is your most important listener, but he/she may become bored by repetitive content. This means you need to be continually spinning the hits forward by thinking about new angles for what matters to your audience.
The P2 is also an important listener as you want to convert him/her into a P1 so you must  be playing the hits when they tune in.  This gets difficult as you really have no idea when they’re going to tune as they listen sporadically.
two mastersSee the issue here?  How  on Earth do you serve these two masters?
  1. Play the hits with opinions and conversation.
  2. Then spin the hits forward with guests, callers, audio clips, etc.
  3. Then spin what you spun forward, forwarder with more guests, callers, audio clips, etc.
  4. Create daily appointment listening segments (like The Herd’s Spanning the Globe) that have value to your audience and that you can promote on-air, online and via social-media.  Then deliver GREATNESS during this segment every…single…day.
  5. When news breaks, own it with opinions, expert guests, great audio clips, callers, etc. Breaking news is BY FAR your best marketing tool. Promote with social media and then deliver on that promise.
 On a daily basis you need to plan a show for P1s that both plays the hits while spinning those stories and conversations forward.  This will meet the desire of P2s sampling you and by keeping it fresh, your unique content  will become the entertainment that turns those P2s into P1s.

“…P1’s don’t really listen significantly longer per occasion. Maybe 12 minutes versus 10. And while they listen more often, we’re still talking less than three times per day and less than 3 days per week on average. Magnifies the importance of branding, setting appointments for the day AND the next day, and having great benchmarks. Get them another couple of occasions per week and watch your TSL grow.”

Chris Kinard, Program Director-106.7 The Fan (WJFK-FM) & CBS Sports Radio 1580 (WJFK-AM)

In a nutshell, play the hits while spinning them forward and you’ll do the impossible, you’ll serve two masters.