Visuals on your radio station lead to higher audience figures

By James Cridland for
Posted 9 June 2016, 6.18pm edt

James Cridland

Visuals increasingly exist on radio. From the NextRadio app utilising the FM chip inside phones, to your own radio apps, apps like Radioplayer or Radioapp, to DAB+ broadcasts: radio's increasingly accompanied by slides and graphics.

It makes the most of a colour screen; it enables further advertising revenue and means audiences begin to recognise your on-air personalities and your logo.

NextRadio, the smartphone app in the US that uses the inbuilt FM chip to tune into radio, regularly releases research showing the benefit of adding visuals: and they've just released their latest data.

Their new data release, below, doesn't highlight the benefits of just adding now-playing visuals: they've done a lot of research around that. Twice the tune-ins, and two hours more time spent listening are the headlines from that.

Instead, this latest data shows the benefit of doing more than now-playing information. If you add additional content - which might be news headlines, presenter photographs, traffic alerts, and other stuff other than simply some album art - even that appears to have a good effect on radio listening: increasing total time spent listening by 24%, and increasing the amount of tune-ins yet further.

I've done my own research on additional information alongside broadcasting, too, and it's surprisingly good at encouraging interaction.

Perhaps now's the time to spend more attention to the user experience of your online player and your mobile app.

Press release

FM on the smartphone amplifies the listener—station relationship

Latest NextRadio data analysis shows growth in tune-ins, listening and views as stations empower their listeners with new ways to interact with station content, programming and personalities

Indianapolis, IN. – June 9, 2016 –According to data from NextRadio®, the smartphone app that provides free, portable FM radio listening, stations that display schedule content in between songs – such as programming schedules, program imagery, and the ability to interact with a show and/or personality - realize more listening time, more tune-ins, and increased views of all of their station visuals compared with stations that only show “Now Playing Screens” – which show album art of the artist currently playing.

The latest NextRadio data analysis examines a best practice group of 40 radio stations across five local markets*. The data shows that when more promotional content is available to the listener, there is a lift in key FM listening metrics.

Schedule Content displays in the NextRadio app increase:

  • Listening Time: Schedule content stations enjoy 24% more minutes per listener and an additional two minutes in average time spent listening
  • In App Views: Listener views double when stations include schedule content, compared to when they use “Now Playing Screens”
  • Tune-Ins: Schedule content stations have an average of 11.8 tune-ins per month, versus 10.3 for those with only Now Playing Screens

“Local listener interactions with station programs and personalities have always been a cornerstone of the radio experience, and it’s one of radio’s greatest assets. NextRadio enhances the listener-station relationship by empowering our audience to engage with songs playing, on-air personalities and station content in fresh, interactive ways,” said Paul Brenner, President, TagStation, LLC powered by NextRadio.

“We are only at the beginning of our journey to deliver an interactive radio experience. The interactive experience that schedule content and other enhanced content provides results in unique listener/user data which can be instrumental in multiple ways by: advertisers to measure campaign goals and understand radio demographics and behaviors, broadcasters to curate their programming with even greater intelligence, and producers to develop more unique listener interaction opportunities,” Brenner continued.

For more data from NextRadio, please view the previously issued data analyses about how visually-appealing content in their app increases listening time, and how it also provides FM broadcasters with 3x more tune-ins.

Industry-wide initiative Pilot recently provided an update on progress in activating FM chips on smartphones.

  • SOURCE: NextRadio analysis of 40 Best Practice stations in New York, Los Angeles, Houston, Detroit, and Charlotte, January-March 2016.

NextRadio by the Numbers

  • As of May 31, 2016, there are almost 7.4 million NextRadio app downloads, 12,781 FM radio stations tuned to through NextRadio, and consumers have spent almost 16.4 million hours tuning into their favorite local FM radio within the NextRadio mobile platform
James Cridland — James runs, and is a radio futurologist: a consultant, writer and public speaker who concentrates on the effect that new platforms and technology are having on the radio business. He also publishes a free daily newsletter about podcasting, Podnews, and a weekly radio trends newsletter.


4 years, 11 months ago

If we all live through the 2020s, radio with slides may be the next big thing on a conventional (standalone) radio tuner.
One fly in the ointment from a radio manufacturing perspective could be the receiver retail price! Why should ordinary Joe & Jenny Bloggs fork out £200 pounds for a radio tuner with pictures, while the same service is piggybacked on a mobile phone or ipad?

Radio with anotated colour pictures is interesting for non-music programmes, Also! An example being BBC radio's 'From Our Own Correspondent', it could carry back up pictures, depicting the trials and tribulations of people living abroad!

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