Recently a radio station here in the Twin Cities made a dramatic change in their format. The music has not changed much but their delivery has.
They no longer have live people on the radio. The format is 100% pre-recorded voice clips. They no longer do weather or traffic or anything that would require a live body at the microphone.
Between the commercial and songs all you hear are pre-recorded clips by the same guy. They’re well done and they sound good. But, it doesn’t take long to realize it’s not live.
My question is, how does this affect their listenership? Does the lack of a live person make a difference? Or do people listen just for the music without regard for the people?
I assume this is exactly what the station owners are testing. And, financially, it makes sense because they are likely saving a lot of payroll expense by not having live people on the air.
The reason I bring this up is two-fold.
One is that I don’t like it. It just sounds wrong. So, I’m going to go out on a short limb here and predict that it will not last. I suspect they’ll go back to live on-air talent before six months has passed.
The second reason is that I think it provides a lesson for all of us who own or manage local businesses. The lesson is: People do business with PEOPLE.
Sure, brands are important but more important are the people behind the brand because they create and sustain the brand, the reputation, the image of the company.
As we think about how to best manage our businesses, it’s tempting to try to automate as much as possible. But every time we take people out of contact with our customers, we risk losing them.
Before you click on to the next page or website, let me know what you think about the “automated radio” vs. radio with real people on the air. Does it matter to you? Why or why not? Do you think it will work or will the station owners bring back the live voices soon?