Key Features to Drive Engagement from Mobile Radio Listeners

Ever heard of a “driveway moment”? NPR endearingly defines these as the moments when listeners connect with a radio program so strongly that they wait in their parked car to keep listening instead of getting out.  But in the smartphone age, stations must extend their reach beyond the car stereo.

True listener engagement creates this feeling of connection, where leaving the car too soon means likely missing something important or delightful.  Listening to David Dye on World Café in the evenings is the best part to my car ride home. I find myself waiting in my car to finish hearing the interview or to listen to the live music he features on the show. Productions like these keep listeners loyal, while also branching out to new listeners as a platform to introduce up-and-coming artists to your audience. World Café is just one example of an engaging program that NPR offers.

Terrestrial radio stations have their loyal listeners to thank for the static listening trends from the last decade.  But companies like Spotify and Pandora prosper today because technology has evolved to easily offer listeners more choices, including the power to skip and rate songs in their curated rotations.

According to this Nielsen graphic, public radio is reaching such a broad market that stations could benefit from a trusted application to stay in touch with their audience. Public radio depends on the support from listeners. Providing to those listeners is vital to retaining that audience. Broad markets serve well for advertising. Stations that look to expand on digital revenue can include underwriting in the content of their mobile apps. Mobile apps present new avenues for promotions and sales.

What do listeners look for in radio apps?

According to the 100 Best Apps, this is what listeners want in a radio app:

  • Design: unique features set your custom app a part from competitors
  • Simplicity: Live updates allow stations to stream programming online
  • Discovery: Song identifications help listeners discover and explore new artists
  • Organization: Event calendars and push notifications keep users in the loop
  • Community: Users feel connected to their favorite stations
  • Share-ability: Social media friendly apps share content (playlists, videos, Twitter feed) syncing networks

Interapt has designed radio apps that offer all of these features. WFPK Radio Louisville partnered with Interapt to develop and publish their radio app, and within months of issuing an update, they saw considerable increase in listener engagement. To quote Interapt’s Steve Fowler: “Since upload [of the new version], the new app has increased open rate by 27x; it has seen a 54x increase in its new-users-per-month; and it has increased its daily active users by 36x. These are staggering engagement numbers when you consider the app already had thousands of downloads before the launch of this new version.”

The takeaway?  Driveway moments are no longer confined to the car, now that listeners can take their favorite stations everywhere. Radio hasn’t changed much over the years, but the way people listen to it has.  Stations like WFPK benefit from embracing the mobile revolution.  No longer do we have to stay in our cars to listen to radio, because radio comes with us!

%d bloggers like this: