Radio trends—producers and on-air talent discuss state of the industry

by | Aug 23, 2018 | Public Relations

The findings of a new online study of on-air talent and producers from radio stations across the United States were unveiled at the recently held “Morning Show Boot Camp” in Chicago, presented by Jacobs Media and Talentmasters. Respondents were asked a wide range of questions on their attitudes about the state of the radio industry, their careers, how they define their ever-changing job duties, and even if they have a “face for radio.”

“The radio industry historically has done a great job researching its audience,” said Fred Jacobs, president of Jacobs Media. “However, no one has ever studied the attitudes of one of the industry’s most important assets, its air personalities. Stations have a lot riding on their talent, and it’s important that management and ownership gain a deeper understanding of what makes them tick. And there are great insights for the personalities themselves.”

Here are some of the highlights from AQ, radio’s first talent on talent survey:

Where’s the farm team?

More than four in ten (43 percent) survey respondents perform on their station’s morning show, while only 14 percent work nights, overnights, and weekends. Yet, nearly three-fourths (74 percent) of the AQ sample got their start in radio on these rapidly disappearing airshifts.

Let’s do an air-check

Overall four in ten (40 percent) of the air talent surveyed in AQ say their work is never critiqued by station management. And nearly one-fifth (19 percent) say they are only air-checked a couple times a year.

Venus & Mars

While nearly seven in ten (69 percent) male air talent agree that “women have as good a chance as men to advance” on the air, less than one-fourth (24 percent) of female respondents agree.

Getting social

The #1 skill mandatory for air talent? Social media prowess, mentioned by nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of AQ respondents, is at the top of the list. Yet, only about one-third (35 percent) of these same participants rate their social media ability “excellent.”

Why radio?

When asked why they opted for a career on the air in radio, the top three reasons are that “it’s fun” (80 percent), “to entertain” (73 percent), and because it’s “emotionally fulfilling” (57 percent).  The least important reason? “Sex and relationships,” mentioned by only 1 percent as a main motivator for being on the radio.

Show me the money

Six in ten (60 percent) say that financially, they’re making it, they’re comfortable, or they’re set for life.  Conversely, four in ten (40 percent) report they’re struggling or in debt. Those having the hardest time are women, Millennials, and those who work in smaller markets.

In the eye of the beholder

One in ten (11 percent) strongly agrees with the statement, “I have a face for radio.” Men are twice as likely to strongly concur with that dubious claim.

“Of all the ‘firsts’ we’ve debuted at Morning Show Boot Camp over the past three decades, AQ was easily one of our most anticipated sessions ever,” said Don Anthony, host/creator of Morning Show Boot Camp/Talk Show Boot Camp and publisher of “Jockline Daily.” “Over 1,100 responses! That’s nothing short of amazing. The goal here was to provide usable feedback to both talent and the people who manage them. Having seen the results, I believe Jacobs Media has accomplished this and more.”

Jacobs presented the study to the capacity Boot Camp crowd, who were eager to see research that reflects their aspirations, concerns, and their lives. The results of the AQ study will be unveiled on a webinar scheduled for August 30 at 2pm EST.  Download a sneak peek at the results and register for the webinar here.

AQ is an online study sent via email to both the “Jockline Daily” and Jacobs Media databases. The fieldwork took place between June 13-24, 2018. There were 1,109 responses from commercial radio air personalities in the U.S. and 59 responses from program producers. AQ is a web survey and is not intended to reflect the attitudes of all air personalities and on-air producers.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter