The demographic of country radio is skewing higher. The more we chase the demo, the higher the age keeps getting. Logic would tell us that in order to grow the format we can’t rely on the older demo, but the younger. The future. They are the shapers of media and culture who are finding more and more on demand entertainment.
It would seem wise to catch the next generation of listeners while we still have the chance. Offer them not only the latest music and content, but create innovative platforms to feed their “self broadcasting” lifestyle. Engage them with podcasts, web sites, social networks, texting, and mobile. Catch them before terrestrial radio loses its rank among their entertainment options, of which their are already too many.
It doesn’t mean the older demo needs to be tossed aside since they are key targets for advertisers, but so are the younger demos. There is a way to get the kid and their parents. Country radio can be edgy, hip and play exciting new music right along with the safe superstars. After all, we are a “family format” right?
Give them REAL music variety within a framework of multiple platforms and we just may be able to hang on to the next generations. How can it be done with a 15 or 20 song playlist? There is no discovery or excitement in that. It’s time to move forward. The format has a wealth of young and talented new artists to lead the way if given the opportunity.
The indications are that teens and twentysomethings find themselves currently apathetic to radio and if country radio doesn’t welcome them in and create a demand then we will lose them. You think ratings and records sales are hurting now? Just wait till we let the new generation slip away as we follow the increasingly older demo up the mountain and off the cliff.
A handful of companies are trying to make it happen, but the majority still focus on the way things worked in the past and making decisions according to an outdated model. There is incredible and unprecedented opportunity if we will just seize it.