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Updated: 7.1.15

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Report: Six Main Causes of Lost Quarter Hours

In the first of three online webinars that reveal new discoveries on how listeners respond to air talent, the Tracy Johnson Media Group (TJMG) and Strategic Radio Solutions (SRS) have identified and shared the six most common reasons listeners tune out.
The ground-breaking study measured hundreds of pieces of content, featuring air personality breaks tested with tens of thousands of listeners, It measures their moment-by-moment reaction to content. The findings revealed that stations are losing 40% or more of their audience in many breaks-and don't need to!

1. Listener's lack of attention. Tune out happens because real tune in never occurs. When stations fail to earn engagement quickly, listeners perceptually tune out. Personality breaks remain in the background. And that's the first step to physically tuning out.

2. Content that's out of context. They listen very little, and as a result, don't understand nearly as much as we think. They don't understand how to play the contest. They don't remember (or didn't hear) that break setup 20 minutes ago. They don't get the backstory necessary to enjoy the content. And they tune out.

3. Slow pace. Breaks that don't move forward lose attention. Pace has nothing to do with how long or how fast personalities talk, but rather with how well the story moves forward. Resarch clearly shows how and when listeners get bored (it's easily and quickly). And when they get bored, they soon leave.

4. Not enough payoffs. Most talent plans a direction or payoff for each break, but that's not enough. Listeners constantly evaluate entertainment (every 30-40 seconds), making subconscious decisions as to whether it's worth their time and attention. That's why we must provide mini-payoffs to keep them engaged.

5. Confusion. When they're confused, they tune out, and they're easily confused by: too many voices on the air (especially unfamiliar voices), personalities who talk over one another and change in direction or topics.

6. They simply don't care. They're greedy and selfish, actually tuning in to get something. When talent performs in a way that demands listeners come into their world, they can't relate. And when they don't relate, they tune out. Inside references are one of the biggest offenders in this area.

TJMG President/CEO Tracy Johnson comments, "It's not about break length. Our studies clearly show that listeners don't care how long a break lasts, but rather how good it is. The problem is that the bar for maintaining attention is high, and the price of tune-out is great. With so many entertainment options, broadcasters can't assume listeners will find their way back to their station once tune out occurs."

SRS EVP/Partner Hal Rood adds, "Losing quarter hours is often unnecessary. Measuring listener reaction second by second shows us exactly when and why they tune out. When we go for one more punchline or change topics midstream, we see 40% or more loss in listener attention very quickly, and I don't know many stations that can afford to lose that much audience in just a couple of minutes."

The webinar: Chapter 1, Content Kryptonite: What Causes Tune Out is now available as a video on demand at

A new interview in the New York Times checks in with U2 as they prepare for a series of arena shows. However, Bono says he is still healing from his bike crash in New York last year. Most of his remaining injuries are in his left hand and forearm, and still cannot play guitar. “It feels like I have somebody else’s hand,” he said, adding that his forearm and elbow are "all numb" and titanium, adding that "The shoulder’s better, the face is better.”

The feature also gives a look into the setup for U2's next tour. The band is aiming to play two sets, with an intermission. The first set would essentially be identical each night, with changes in the second set. A triple platform stage has been built, with the sound system fixed to the ceiling rather than the traditional placement around the stage.

Their now-infamous iTunes release of last year's Song Of Innocence was discussed as well. Bono's longtime friend and collaborator Gavin Friday is involved in the production of the tour and told the Times, "The way the album was released, Apple overshadowed the whole thing, so the album was never really listened to. I was told to make the song really real.”

U2's Innocence + Experience Tour begins in Vancouver, British Columbia on May 14, with dates set well into November around the world. In a recently recorded interview, Bono revealed that U2 is planning to play their homeland of Ireland around Christmastime.

- See more at:

Yes bassist and backing vocalist Chris Squire has passed away, after a bout with acute erythroid leukemia, a form of acute myeloid leukemia. Just last month Squire's diagnosis was announced by the band, who also said he would be undergoing treatment for the next few months. His passing was announced Sunday morning.

James Taylor has earned the first #1 album of his illustrious career, as Before This World debuts at #1 on this week's Billboard 200 chart. It took Taylor 45 years to get his first #1 album, as the singer-songwriter's debut Sweet Baby James was released back in 1970. The second highest debut comes from Adam Lambert with The Original High at #3, with Hilary Duff debuting at #5 with Breathe In, Breathe Out. fun. frontman Nate Reuss' solo debut Grand Romantic arrives at #7.
Patty Griffin announces the release of her new album, Servant Of Love, on September 25. The album is the singer/songwriter's tenth effort, and her first to be released on her new self-owned imprint in conjunction with Thirty Tigers. Griffin also announces the first leg of her North American tour, starting on September 22 and running through October 17. A second leg of dates, primarily focused in the western half of the U.S., will be announced shortly.
Roger Waters will host this year's Music Heals benefit concert in Washington D.C. on October 16. The event will raise money for the charity MusiCorps. Special guests include Billy Corgan, Sheryl Crow and Tom Morello.



Brian Mack, PD

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