Country radio “can’t rest on its laurels”, says Coleman Insights.
Things look great almost everywhere in the study of 5,000 P1 (most loyal) country radio listeners across 12 PPM markets – 83% say they’re listening more to country now, 50% think the music is better than four years ago, and they’re generally “much more positive and excited about country radio and country music than the industry believes they are.” But – as many of 35% of them who are current Pandora users would choose it over AM/FM radio in the car dashboard, if they had to choose. (Somebody in the row behind me yesterday involuntarily said “Oh, my God.”) And the old stereotype that country fans are behind the curve with technology is blasted apart by Coleman. VP Sam Milkman, delivering the new media part of the presentation at the Country Radio Seminar in Nashville, says “they’re using an awful lot of different media…Facebook penetrates all the groups up to age 64.” (50% of them are on it.) Nearly half of country fans are toting around smartphones (more likely Android than BlackBerry or iPhone). Coleman VP Chris Ackerman says the study recommends “preserving your position by continuing to strengthen and improve the product and product experience. Do the necessary R&D to understand the audience.” Some good news on that front – Coleman sees “a loosening of the purse strings at radio.” Here’s one new media angle every station should ponder, country or not –