One of the key philosophies here at Jacobs is encouraging clients to use their databases to better understand and serve their audiences - whether it's listeners or advertisers. As we've learned in the past decade, web polling is a great tool for doing just that, and part of the basic idea behind the NeoRadio concept was giving listeners a seat at the table.
As a part of that process, a great tool is something that we refer to as "Research as marketing." The idea is to survey listeners, determine their preferences, show them the research that leads you to making a programming change/improvement, and then making it happen. In this way, programmers aren't mysteriously or unilaterally changing up the station. They make it clear the audience is very much involved in the process.
Case in point: Buffalo's 97Rock and Christmas music. Of course, this is always a tricky issue for Rock stations, and we are bombarded with the same questions, year in and year out. What are the best songs? When should I start playing them? How many holiday songs should I play an hour? What about on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?
Not that he doesn't trust our opinion, but programmer John Hager takes matters into his own hands, by giving his loyal listenership a starring role in the process. For the second consecutive year, he literally tested all those great (and not-so-great) holiday favorites. And he included several questions about how much and when these songs would be most desired on 97Rock.
But the key to getting the most out of this process is that he shows the results of the survey on the station's website, allowing the audience the opportunity to see the findings and buy into 97Rock's course of action with Christmas music. It's a great way to learn more about the audience, answer important programming questions, and make the audience feel very important in the process. Check out the results by clicking here.