| The Southern Ontario/WNY Radio-TV Forum

You are not logged in. Would you like to login or register?

May 1, 2020 8:32 am  #1

Do You Try To Avoid Radio Ads? New Cdn. Study Says Most Of Us Don’t

Most of us tend to judge studies through the prism of our own experience. That may be why I’m so skeptical of new research that indicates most listeners don’t change the station when an ad cluster comes on. Because as a listener, I’ll tune almost anywhere else to escape the shilling.
The survey, which was done by the Journal of Advertising Research, involved 800 people in Vancouver, whose radio listening habits were measured by PPMs. It found only 3% overall tried to deliberately avoid hearing ads when a station went to a spot break.
The numbers were higher when taking into account in-car listening, with researchers saying that was because the controls to change the station were closer to the user. And it was also bigger during the morning, when of course more people are listening – and there are more ads to avoid.
It also indicates that music stations suffered from switching more than talk and news, explaining that away by saying the "contrast" between music and speech gets more attention.
I’m not sure I buy this study, but I actually hope it’s true. I admit to being hypocritical enough that I love advertising when I’m working in broadcasting because it helps to pay our salaries. (Although I hate them when they go on for four minutes or more, which I will always believe increases tune-out.)

But as a listener, I will go out of my way to avoid them. (Which is why it drives me crazy that every talk station in the city operates on a 15 minute increment quarter hour clock and all go to a spot break at almost the exact same time, making it tough to find anywhere else to tune beyond the CBC.)
Anyway, see what you think. You can read a brief summary of the findings here.


May 1, 2020 8:55 am  #2

Re: Do You Try To Avoid Radio Ads? New Cdn. Study Says Most Of Us Don’t

This is the exact reason I permanently switched to listening to GNR640 instead of NT1010. CFRB has far too many stop sets with their overly long TOH news and far-too-long traffic, spot, spot ... stops. The actual talk content is almost an afterthought.

640, OTOH has far fewer spot breaks and compact traffic. Granted they have a far smaller inventory of advertisers, leading to massive repetition, but, the illusion of a much tighter clock won me over.

The only complaint I have is on their overnight show where Drex plays an entire song at :55 leading up to the news, but I can live with it.


May 1, 2020 10:34 am  #3

Re: Do You Try To Avoid Radio Ads? New Cdn. Study Says Most Of Us Don’t

I think the fact that most of us here were either in the business or many of our registered users have a real interest in the workings of radio and tv sort of cancels most of us out as to how accurate this survey is.  We are not the best ones to judge whether people listen or not to commercials since we are not the average listener. We listen to radio much closer than the average person and are more critical in most cases. Some people still use radio for background or ambience especially music.

In the car I flip around the dial constantly, but when I am with non radio friends or family members and they are in charge of the radio, they almost never change the station. Real listeners have more loyalty to their station(s) and tend to stick with them over much longer periods of time. In terms of talk, they seem to be more influenced by the topic, host and guests rather than the number of commercials on a show or station. If the topic is not of interest, they could check out the other talk stations but often come back eventually to their main station, for a newscast or the next topic or host.   

Age would be a factor as well, I am sure younger people, assuming they are even listening to radio, would flip around more, at least in the car.  As we supposedly mature and lose some of our youthful energy and have a better idea of what we like and don't like to listen to would cut down on station flipping.

In my humble opinion, I have noticed there is a difference to what we in the industry think is important and what many listeners feel is important. To all the cancon haters, my experience is that to most average listeners whether we play 30-35% cancon is not a big deal to them.

They may complain about repetition of songs and artists and many in the industry assume it is cancon, but usually it isn't. I had the opportunity to do a deeper dive on this and most listener complaints  were regarding the type of music and not specific artists. Some artists and songs were mentioned for overplay and almost none were Canadian or cancon.
It only becomes an issue if it is pointed out or centered out to to the listener, but that also applies to commercials, other music and artists or particular hosts.  So I viewed this as leading questions which can inadvertently  direct the survey which doesn't help with accuracy. Sort of like making an issue of something that didn't exist for the listener in the first place.

And in this information there were complaints about too many commercials but those complaints tended to be on talk shows.  Sometimes hosts would not follow the breaks close enough or not get to the topic or guest quickly and we would be forced to double up on commercial breaks which sounded like crap.  So this was more of an issue of the host getting off topic and wasting air time with chit chat, and this is easily corrected.

So all I am saying is that the survey could very well be accurate. Our industry lives and dies by revenue and results for advertisers, so anything to counter the lazy attitude of  "nobody listens to radio or commercials" is important.  The fact that the survey was measured by PPM also gives it credibility as well.


May 1, 2020 10:52 am  #4

Re: Do You Try To Avoid Radio Ads? New Cdn. Study Says Most Of Us Don’t

Well, I will admit to one thing - I do react to certain spots more than others. Even if the radio is in another room, if I hear anything from Tom Mihalik, I will physically get up and rush to turn it off. So I suppose that could be considered successful advertising, since it gets my attention - although not for long. 

The same for that inane ad that starts with a woman who sounds like she's under hypnosis, drone-fully intoning the horrible copy, "Some people live to ski, others ski to live." What's it for? I can't say, I'm gone before we get to that. Or those horrendous and painfully unfunny warnings about cannabis edibles, in which the big voiced announcer makes some kind of comment about his hands being too big. Who thinks that's an effective message about not using these things or keeping them away from kids? 

Maybe my point is this: if the spots were a little more listenable and a lot less awful, I might be more likely stick around to hear them. Although I always do stay when the home care spot appears on Sauga 960, just so I can hear the woman mispronounce the word "arthritis" as Arthur-ritis. Good old Arthur. He's a miserable old guy! 

     Thread Starter

May 1, 2020 11:03 am  #5

Re: Do You Try To Avoid Radio Ads? New Cdn. Study Says Most Of Us Don’t

It's very simple. If I hear too many ads I look for the competition and shop there. 
Yes, this means that an ad for the Brick means I ALSO do not shop at Leon's.
However, sometimes this method of thinking can easily forget who owns what.