7 Trends Impacting Radio Today


(By Randy Lane) Over the years I’ve seen many threats and dire predictions for radio. MTV videos in the ‘80s, the rise of social media, Pandora and Spotify, and YouTube in the 2000’s. I have always believed, and I believe even more strongly today, that radio will survive and thrive on the power of personalities. And here are seven tips to make it happen…

1. Develop and highlight talent as the face of your brand

Focus your marketing on high-performing morning shows. Develop a personality benchmark in afternoons, especially in big markets with heavy traffic.

Seek out fresh new talent from podcasters and YouTube and get them on-air overnight live or recorded. Continue to offer intern programs to discover talent.

2. Emphasize local     

The importance of radio’s local content continues to increase with listeners. Be sure            local content is relevant to your audience. It must be A or at least B-level content for listeners to care.

3. Visualize your show

Streaming video’s growth is off the charts.

Listeners now want to see their favorite radio personalities perform during the show and glimpse into their off-air lives via video. Hone your on-camera skills for Instagram and Facebook Live. Consider Twitch TV if your show is highly popular or you have a newer show that’s building a growing cult. Shooting videos that can potentially go viral continues to be important to grow your brand as well.

4. Repurpose more content

Just as rotating power songs with high frequency scores ratings, airing your best content more often, wins! One priceless segment will only be heard by less than 10% of your audience. Repurpose A-level morning or afternoon show content in the station imaging in all dayparts.

5. Female Focus

Radio is catching up, but it’s a step behind other media in putting women in starring roles. Women have prominent roles on local television newscasts, they host major national talk shows, and females direct and star in major motion pictures.

If women are your target audience, it’s crucial to have females represented on your morning or afternoon show.

6. Cut the commercial load

Listener tolerance for long commercial clusters is sharply diminishing, especially in morning drive when time-spent-listening is short. Accommodate today’s short-attention-span consumers by reducing the commercial count, turn 60-second spots into :30s, and increase the number of stop sets in mornings to get back to content faster.

7. Smart speakers increase radio listening 

There is a significant increase in AM/FM listening with people who purchase a smart speaker like Alexa. Smart speakers are also bringing radio back into the home. Be sure your station and show are running promos informing listeners where to find it on smart speakers.

These 2018 trends are still relevant today!

Randy Lane launched his media talent coaching and personal brand development company in 1996. He can be contacted by phone at 805-497-7177 or email at [email protected]


  1. Indeed, Randy’s suggestions deserve few terse challenges other than about how, specifically, is a new crop of legitimate “personalities” to be trained – readied for prime time, so to speak.
    Through time, there have been hundreds and hundreds of strong and successful personalities on the air. I submit, however, the number has been diminishing – not necessarily because of unavailability, but because they have been systematically eliminated and suppressed.
    With many other examples available and while I was reading Randy’s piece, I still couldn’t help but wonder if my adopted mentor would have been allowed on the air during these contemporary times.
    I refer to the afternoon drive guy at WCFL – Larry Lujack.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here