Please Hold: What Do Your Listeners Hear When They Call?


If a listener or a client calls your radio station, what will they hear when they’re on hold? A station feed? An ad for advertising on your platforms? Silence? A new Veritonic study about the power of on-hold audio may have you reconsidering what callers hear while you dig through the ticket drawer.

Veritonic’s research delves into customer perception and the potential influence on a brand’s image and sales. The study surveyed hundreds of podcast listeners in April 2024 to gauge their responses to various on-hold audio scenarios.

The research, which tapped into the opinions of podcast listeners, revealed that two-thirds of consumers are positively swayed toward brands that carefully curate their on-hold audio. Radio stations can see this as an opportunity to reinforce their identity, as 46% of those surveyed view on-brand music as essential for a consistent listener experience.

Preferences are clear when it comes to what listeners want to hear while waiting. A vast majority, 90%, opt for music over advertisements, seeking a more soothing wait time. However, more than half would rather listen to a voice than be greeted with silence, highlighting the potential for spoken-word content.

The case for audio is further supported as a staggering 92% express a preference for music to fill the silence while they wait.

Of course, if you’re piping in a station feed, make sure it sounds good – quality is just as crucial as content. Loud or low-quality music could tarnish the listener’s perception of the radio station, as noted by the majority of respondents.

If your station offers podcasts, 40% of consumers are open to exploring podcast advertisements during hold times, and if you want to get transcendental, 34% welcome short meditative sessions. This suggests that radio stations might experiment with content that steps beyond the traditional, providing a unique listener experience.

In the competitive landscape of radio broadcasting, those moments of waiting could become a powerful touchpoint for listener engagement, even for already committed P1s.



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