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Is Voicetracking a Disaster?


That's one of the conclusions Edison Media President Larry Rosin came to as a result of his company's detailed study on millennials and Country radio, which was presented Wednesday at CRS in Nashville. The Edison study included an online survey of 1,550 12-34-year-olds and face-to-face interviews with millennials around the country about their attitudes towards country music, Country radio, and music listening and media habits in general. Following the presentation, Rosin gave his take on what radio needs to do to compete with the increased number of options listeners have to consume music.

One point from the study the radio industry may want to take act on quickly is where millemnials identify new music. Radio has taken a beating lately over repetition and not being open to new music. However, in the Edison study, almost every respondent interviewed live said radio was the place they went to discover new music before they made their purchase. Rosin said, "We are where Americans go to hear country hits, but we need to sell that more."

When it comes to social media, it will come as no surprise that millennials use between four and five social media sites every day. And following you on Facebook for no real reason did not seem to be high on their list. Perhaps if you gave away tickets or held some other contest they would. However, liking a radio station on Facebook received a lukewarm response. Overall, Rosin believes radio needs to double down its effort to reach millennials on social media. They are out there and they are constantly using social media, whether its Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Vine, so if a radio station develops a relationship with listeners on the platforms, it can only be a plus.

Radio's brand is live and local and easy to operate, Rosin noted, and radio scored high with respondents for being simple to use: They turn it on and their favorite radio station is waiting. No making playlists, no tapping a thumbs up or down, no downloading songs or looking for an aux jack. However, there’s no doubt that Pandora is a major competing force for radio in this age group. Everyone knows about Pandora, and most use it in some way. Some use it more than radio. And they love it.

Pandora was mentioned more than any other competitor to radio when millennials were interviewed. What Pandora cannot match is radio's live and local strength. That is, if their favorite radio station has one. They love the morning shows that make them happy. They love hearing about local events. Some love attending events where they can actually see who they've been listening to. That seemed to lead Rosin to make the statement that, "Nationalization and voicetracking are a disaster."

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