Radio has emerged as not only an important source of news amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, but as a wellspring of comfort. Music-formatted stations have adjusted to “the changing palate of a nervous nation,” Inside Radio reports.
When Nielsen data showed more success for gold-based formats and waning interest in new music during COVID-19, Beasley Media Group began swapping out new tunes in favor of the old at most of its music stations. “And we paid special attention on the tempo and feel, as we wanted our stations to be as positive and uplifting as possible,” said Chief Content Officer Justin Chase. One of its stations now airs a “Comfort Songs” feature, where listeners called in with requests.
Testing showed that listeners’ taste in music shifted quickly to songs that were familiar and upbeat. “That was the case in almost every format,” said Midwest Communications VP of Programming Jeff McCarthy. “We made the necessary adjustments quickly.”
Additionally, listeners began turning to radio hosts for much-needed human connection.
“The biggest change was the amount of actual phone calls from listeners,” McCarthy said. “We were connecting verbally again.” When listeners called in “they were engaging with a comforting friend on the other end.”
Back in March, 83% of consumers reported listening to as much or more radio as they were before the pandemic, according to Nielsen. Listeners reported feeling more connected to their community, less alone, less stressed, and less panicked as a result of radio.
Radio remains a valuable tool for connecting with audiences, especially in times of crisis. For more information on how your brand can utilize the power of radio, contact SMI today.