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RADIO STATIONS THAT ARE TOO IMPORTANT FOR THEIR LISTENERS vs. PAUL McCARTNEY

radio promotions listeners

I’ve always been amazed — and dismayed — by the disdain with which so many radio stations treat their listeners…Their fans.

Your most loyal fans? The ones who show up for your most pathetic remotes, in the rain? Losers.

The ones who enter and win so many of your contests? Naturally, they’re “prize pigs.”

(Don’t bother explaining to me that they’re not really fans, that they “listen to all the radio stations to win the contests.” When they’re listening to your station, even if it’s only to try to win something, they’re your listeners.)

Hey, we’re busy. Overworked. Understaffed.

We have too many other things to do that are much more important than treating our listeners well.

We’re much too important to make our fans feel special…or, at least, appreciated.

I know a guy whom I’ll call “Roger.”

Roger is a member of the Paul McCartney Fan Club — a genuine fan club that is operated by fans, with McCartney’s approval.

A few years ago, McCartney was appearing in concert in Roger’s hometown.

Roger received a phone call from the McCartney fan club:

“Every now and then Paul likes to invite a few fans to meet with him. We’ve selected five fan club members at random, and you’re one of the five. If you’d like to come, you can bring one guest and you can bring whatever items you’d like Paul to autograph for you.”

Roger showed up, with a guest and various album covers for Paul’s autograph. Paul sat and chatted with the group of ten people for about 30 minutes.

Those ten people never will forget it. And it’s pretty likely that they’ve told some (okay, every one) of their friends about their experience.

Observation: If Paul McCartney can figure out a way to stay close to his fans, perhaps that’s not an impossibility for us radio folks, too.

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  • Ted Morro January 25, 2012, 9:56 am

    Very true,..best advertising is word of mouth…and it can work both ways. I remember a bad back stage experience with some of our winners. The tour manager was a total jerk backstage, offended everyone there, and two of our listeners left before the show because he was so degrading. I took the artist’s song out of rotation for about two weeks until I got a call from the label,..Let’s just say the problem was addressed,..but the damage was done to the artist,..and our station.

  • Anita Bonita January 25, 2012, 9:56 am

    Treat listeners with respect, and they’ll do the same. I’m STILL getting e-mail from former listeners to a station on which my voice hasn’t been heard since September 12, 2008.

  • Simon Ritchie January 25, 2012, 10:05 am

    A good friend of mine was a Dep PD at a radio station in Sir Paul’s home town of Liverpool in 2004 when he was playing the Albert Docks there. A meet & greet was arranged thru Pauls’ management team, & prizes given away. Listeners gathered pre gig to meet Paul, but he cancelled on them without any thing more than “sorry” from his team. #ironic

  • David Clouter January 25, 2012, 10:25 am

    Although new technologies have allowed radio to become more impersonal (voice tracking across multiple markets, etc) there are aslo tools that allow broadcasters to interact more. It’s only laziness / inertia that stops us siezing the initiative.

  • Chris Craft January 25, 2012, 10:52 am

    I was a listener, a fan of radio before . BE A FAN OF YOUR AUDIENCE. PEOPLE WHO TAKE THE TIME TO STOP YOU ON THE STREET AND TELL YOU WHAT THEY THINK ABOUT YOUR STATION GOOD BAD OR OTHERWISE ARE THE SAME PEOPLE WHO GET DIARIES FROM ARBITRON. BE A FAN OF YOUR FANS YOU WOULDN’T BE WHERE YOU ARE TODAY WITHOUT THEM AND IN A BUSINESS FULL OF UNGRATEFUL PEOPLE YOU NEED TO BE GRATEFUL FOR WHAT YOU HAVE .

    IN A BLINK OF AN EYE

  • Russ Miller January 25, 2012, 11:36 am

    That personal connection is what it’s all about. A radio station without listeners is … what?

  • Ray Edwards January 25, 2012, 10:25 pm

    So you think we should treat others the way we’d like to be treated? Now that’s an idea that just might stick…

  • Dan O'Day January 25, 2012, 10:32 pm

    @Ray: I’ll go you one better: We should treat people the way we’d love to be treated.

  • Eric February 22, 2012, 10:48 pm

    @Russ Miller: A radio station without listeners is called a military run AFN station.

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