This report from Inside Radio confirms a theory I have had for a long time, even before I started doing radio:
Radio has long been thought of as a mood service, with listeners choosing formats to match or even elevate their emotional state. A new study from USA Touchpoints shows the AC* format delivers listeners in an overwhelmingly positive frame of mind. It comes as advertisers increasingly look at tapping into radio as a mood service.
The top six emotions reported by survey respondents aged 18-64 are “contented,” “happy,” “confident,” indifferent,” “hopeful” and “excited.” (Indifference, which falls in the middle of the 17-point emotional scale and isn’t considered a negative, only surfaces for AC listeners at work and may be more reflective of the workplace environment, researchers say.) Not only are emotions experienced while listening to AC uniformly positive, there’s also surprisingly little difference based on where the listening takes place for the at-work powerhouse. That’s significant because location can have an impact on emotional mindsets — listeners may feel more stress or pressure in one location than in another.
“It suggests that radio plays a strong role in reinforcing, maintaining or even shaping people’s moods,” says Mike Bloxham, executive director of marketing for the Media Behavior Institute, which produces the USA Touchpoints cross-platform measurement service. “People may tune to radio when they want to feel better.”
The rest of the article talks about marketing and mood from a commercial standpoint, which I am not particularly interested in, since WEFT is a non-commercial community radio station, but it’s something I have personally observed. There are so many ways to access music and news today that radio is neglected, because “who listens to radio?” is the common misconception. That is why WEFT, listener supported volunteer operated community radio, is so important. We provide access to a tapestry of music, news and information that a listener may be able to find elsewhere, but I doubt it. Live local programming, including local, national and international news and public affairs and live music by local musicians in the studio is not something that one finds aggregated anywhere else on the dial or the net.
Listening to the radio and hearing, in the space of 24 hours, music from Malawi (because we are interviewing guest from Malawi), a talk on prairie restoration from a guy who does it (the Prairie Monk), music by lesbians and feminists, one of the few public affairs shows that is focused on people with disabilities (the award winning Disability Beat)…and that is just the beginning. Because we are so diverse and complex and because our airshifters don’t have to answer to a programming director or corporate owner, we can reach just about any mood at just about any time. If you don’t like what you hear, just wait…it will be different soon enough. It will probably affect your mood (hopefully in a positive way. However, it won’t be AC.
*adult contemporary (I had to look it up)