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Who Are the Morning Superfans?

For our presentation earlier in August at Morning Show Boot Camp 2016 we conducted a study of over 500 listeners apiece in the top three markets in the country. We screened the 18-54’s in the study to ensure that 100% were habitual morning radio listeners. To get to the respondents we called Superfans, we scraped off any who listen less than 30 minutes per day in the morning and then focused down to only the respondents who are addicted to the morning shows they listen to most; those who agreed that listening to that show is essential to their lives.

Across NY, Chicago and LA we had sufficient respondents to focus on quite a number of shows, but we picked seven – trying to represent different formats, different styles and different levels of heritage. In the end we chose to focus on:

  • The Elvis Duran Show from WHTZ/NYC
  • Todd & Jayde from WPLJ/NYC
  • Ebro from WQHT/NYC
  • Ryan Seacrest from KIIS/LA
  • Kevin & Bean from KROQ/LA
  • Eric & Kathy from WTMX/Chicago
  • Fred + Angi from WKSC/Chicago

Three characteristics were in-common across those most-mentioned in connection with six of the seven shows: Hilarious, Informative and Great Stories. If your morning show is going to attract Superfans in 2016 and 2017, those are the table stakes to be in the game.

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The show needs to be hilarious. Not just funny. Not witty. Hilarious. And you have to be hilarious compared to the hysterically-funny piece, clipped from the best late-night show or making the rounds virally, that a listener just saw on her smartphone over breakfast.

You have to be truly informative – filling a listener in with relevant information, so that she feels more comfortable going about her day having listened to the show.

And you have to tell great stories – the kind of stories that a listener will stay in her car to hear, even though she’s sitting in her parking space at work.

We saw that Superfans get up earlier than other morning listeners – 20 minutes on average. They’re morning people. In general, they’re the people who like the morning. They’re not dragging themselves out of bed most days. They’re ready for your best content the moment they tune in. No need to ease into anything.

Radio habituals that they are, they want service elements from their stations. What those are exactly will vary show to show, but they’re serving people who like radio shows (or at least one radio show). Their weather app may tell them the forecast, but your show can get excited with them about a beautiful day (or irked over the nth day in a row of rain, etc.). Waze will show them the jams, but your traffic report will get pissed over the road crew starting work in the height of the morning rush.

In 2016, they want to be able to get the content when they want it, where they want it. While you may get a few who genuinely feel they’re going to time shift the show and listen to a full-length podcast version, far more want to easily find clips of the show to share with friends. Superfans are the people who will read blog posts from morning talent, follow shows or people on Social Media, like and comment on posts. Superfans love these shows and can be tremendous advocates for the shows with their friends – if you make it easy to do and show them love and care when they comment, call, email, etc.

The Superfans presentation is available here with our best efforts to summarize the complete commentary into captions on each of the slides. Great on-air talent is critically important to radio. Here’s to those who make their living getting up in the middle of the night and enriching the lives of millions of listeners every morning.

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