10 Trends Impacting Morning Radio


1. America Wants to Escape
The negative, bad news, and divisiveness that we endure daily is driving Americans to escape. Interactive games (usually trivia) that listeners can play along to for fun are hot on radio morning shows. Here’s a taste of Todd & Jayde’s Stupid Easy Trivia on WPLJ NY.

Good-news features continue to be popular as a form of escape. Check out George, Mo & Cowboy Dave’s Can I Get an Amen on Houston’s 100.3 The Bull.

2. Recycle More Content
Replaying your best content wins! One priceless segment will only be heard by approximately 10% of your audience. Repeat A-level content two or three times in different hours and days.

3. Minimize App Content
Go light on content that most listeners get from their phones such as traffic, weather, and sports scores. Air less app content and create more original content.

4. Serial Content
Nielsen ratings thrive on tune-ins. You will increase time-spent-listening 100% by getting listeners to tune-in tomorrow morning at the same time to hear the resolution of a storyline.

Listen to how syndicated show Brooke and Jubal move listeners from one segment to the next by setting up a story in the first segment, teasing forward, and paying it off in the second.

5. Female Focus
Myth: Women don’t like hearing other women on radio. There is not only wide acceptance of female personalities, the number of female hosts and cohosts are rising rapidly.

If your show is targeted to females, your success will be restricted without a female voice.

6. Pre-Produced Content
Top shows are pre-producing more content for PPM and the audience’s short attention span. Interviews are always more effective by recording and editing them. Sharpening recycled segments give them more impact as well.

7. Short Attention Span
According to Microsoft, the average attention span is now eight seconds! Drop the traditional preamble (station and show name, slogan, weather, time, etc.) at the beginning of content breaks. Instead, start with a headline that instantly engages listeners. Then you can briefly hit the station and show name.

End all content segments with a tease for the next one. Here’s a produced stager followed by a tease from Chaz & AJ at WPLR New Haven, CT.

8. TV Shows and Pop Culture Decline
Viewership for the top TV shows has dropped in half. Even the Super Bowl was watched by less than a third of the US population. The top-rated TV show weekly will be seen by 5-8% of your audience. When discussing a TV show or movie, give listeners a one to two sentence premise and play an audio clip.

Interest in pop culture stories has declined due to fewer universal stars and can’t compare to the drama going on in politics. Go short on announcement stories (awards show winners, new albums, etc.) and long on action and drama stories.

9. On-Demand Content
Listeners expect your content to be on-demand. Start by posting your best content segments daily.

We learned at CRS that smart speakers, like Alexa, increase at-home listening. Kicks 101.5 Atlanta is on top of this rapidly expanding trend. Take a listen.

10. So Many Platforms, So Little Time
How do you prioritize your show, on-demand content, social media, videos, blogging, promotions/events?

Take care of the mothership first, your show. Then make your best content available online in podcast form. Social media and videos are third and fourth.


  1. This piece is spot on in many ways. Music radio has to know it’s essentially a glorified Pandora channel with a lot of clutter. Personalities are the only unique thing about music radio. Personalities must CONNECT with listeners on a personal and profound level, or they will go the way of the dinosaur. As far as time, traffic and weather…good luck if you still rely on them. I don’t listen to radio traffic. I have my GPS. I have a thousand ways to check time and wx too. Oddly enough, Alexa is a terrific way to bring radio back into the home. I don’t have a single radio in my home, and I’ve been in the business for a long time. If you JUST rely on music and idiotic music testing, you’re done. You may still have some people who rely on you to break music, but most of the time, people have been listening to the latest hits before you add them to your playlist.


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