Making Money From Your Loyal Listeners — Pt. 1


Part 1 – Longer Listening Results in Advertiser Success

(By Charlie Sislen) Radio sales reps talk about their station’s reach or outline their quarter-hour performance. However, they rarely talk about the loyalty of their listeners. By not documenting, or even talking about, this loyalty, it can diminish the perceived value of your station to many advertisers.

Of course, anyone can walk in and say, “Ms. Advertiser, your message will have more impact on my station because its listeners are emotionally connected to my station. They have an affinity and passion that cannot be matched.” As I have said often in these posts, whatever you say needs to be backed up by facts.

The first step is getting an advertiser to recognize that utilizing an advertising outlet that reaches potential consumers who have an emotional relationship has tremendous value. This is Sales 101, and needs to be done before you present evidence. Once that is done, it is time to set up the facts.

So how do you document this proclaimed tremendous loyalty? This is the first of three articles that will show a savvy sales rep how to take advantage of the emotional  elationship that listeners have with their station.

Time Spent Listening (Also called Average Weekly Time Exposed)

How long an average listener tunes to your station is the ultimate sign of loyalty. A station with TSL that is higher than other major stations in the market, or even higher than the direct competition, can claim the loyalty hill. While reported TSL in PPM markets is much smaller when compared to reported TSL in diary markets, there is a reasonable explanation. PPM captures incidental listening (and therefore low TSL) that the diary methodology missed.

Remember, TSL is relative. To win in this battle, all you need is higher TSL than the other stations the advertiser is considering. When using TSL to sway an advertiser, there are several keys that need to be recognized.

In most cases, the station with the highest TSL is a lower-ranked station based on AQH. If you are that station, it is imperative that you use this advantage. I might not have the biggest audience, but I do have the most loyal listeners.

If you are a major player, just compare your TSL with the other stations the advertiser is considering. Don’t document the stations that the advertiser is not considering.

If that does not work, compare yourself to others in your format universe. This is great in a head-to-head battle. “If it is either my station or station B, don’t you want to advertise on the one that our shared listeners spend longer listening to?” I believe that question has only one appropriate answer.

When positioning TSL to an advertiser, remind them of the importance of building an effective frequency, as without it an advertiser’s message is lost. Obviously it is easier to build an effective frequency on a station with higher time spent listening.

This loyalty does not show up in a rating point or cost-per-point, but can make a tremendous difference in how impactful an advertiser’s message is.

Stay tuned for Rart 2 in a couple of weeks!

Charlie Sislen is a partner at Research Director, Inc. He can be reached at 410-956-0363 or by e-mail at [email protected]. This blog post is part of a series titled “Growing the Radio Pie.” To view past articles, visit The Ratings Experts at Research Director, Inc. online here.


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