Programming a radio station is hard. You can’t see your audience and you only hear from them in two ways: when they complain about something and when the ratings come out every quarter (or every year in some markets). Much research is required to understand the constantly shifting needs, wants, wishes, and demands of your audience.
As a former program director, I can attest to the gargantuan nature of trying to please as many listeners as possible as often as possible for as long as possible, 24/7/365. It’s part art, part science, part voodoo. The trick is figuring out the ratio of all the ingredients that go into a successful radio station within your budgetary restraints, the always-changing musical trends, and a boss who needs to hit his/her revenue targets every month. And it all comes down to understanding who your audience is and how to attract more listeners.
Without getting too far into the weeds, one of the ways radio programmers (and content providers in general) work at attracting and pleasing and audience is to create what we call “lifestyle groups.” These are broad yet well-researched categorizations of consumers of media that help programmers fine-tune their offerings.
Lee Abrams is legendary in radio circles as a programmer who helped codify (for better or worse) how radio stations can better reach their target audiences. For example, when XM Satellite radio first signed almost 20 years ago, they hired Abrams to help organize their channel selection.
In August (thanks for the tip, Bob Lefsetz), Lee posted this new chart on today’s media consumers. Where do you fit in?