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Listeners Talk Back About Morning Drive posted on July 30th, 2008

Somewhere between 6 and 8am each weekday morning, nearly all of us are stumbling through a morning routine. The lucky ones among us are able to hop out of bed with enviable vigor to enjoy a quick workout and a bowl of Wheaties. The rest of us spend some time exercising our right to “snooze” and then perform some acrobatic combination of getting dressed, brushing teeth, and eating breakfast all while walking out to the car. As we pull out into the highway, however, the great majority of us then face the daunting task of the morning commute – and the even greater challenge of choosing a radio morning show that will have us walking into work wide-awake and well-informed. But for as many cars as there are pouring through the intersection through which we’d like to turn left, there are just as many preferences for the perfect morning show. How can a radio station tailor its morning content to deliver a fresh angle that’ll satisfy the majority of the jam?

Here at MusicMaster, we wanted to find out what the word was on the streets. We surveyed individuals aged 18 to 60 and simply asked them what they like and don’t like about their morning show of choice. Here’s what they had to say…

– 37.5% of them noted that they wished their morning show featured more music. One individual pointed out: “I listen to FM radio. If I wanted a lot of talk I would switch to an AM talk morning show.” Some of these respondents noted that while they do enjoy what the morning personalities have to offer, they would like to hear a few more songs in a row, rather than – as one put it – “all about what their kids did last night.”

– To that point, 50% noted that they did not like it when the morning radio personalities went on about their personal lives. While these topics can add to the liveliness and humor of the program, many of the listeners found that if they did not relate, they weren’t all that interested.

– Another 50% said they listen to the morning show specifically to hear news, weather and traffic. Some of these replied that they prefer news topics that are of general pop culture appeal or are offbeat, to give them “something to talk about with coworkers during lunch.” While half of these respondents specifically listened to an AM news talk radio stations, the other half listened to FM radio. Yet many of these FM listeners noted that by listening to this brand of news, their “IQ lowers by several points” based on the topics covered and the comedic slant.

– Despite this, 37.5% wrote that they do appreciate the humor of the radio personalities. Some preferred it in small doses mixed in with the meat and potatoes, while others tuned into their morning station specifically for the humor. One listener wrote: “their conversation (however pointless it may be) keeps me engaged and awake during my drowsy commute” while another wrote: “I want something that will keep me up to date on news, sports, weather, traffic, and celebrities, but in a way that really gets me pumped for the day ahead.”

In general, it seems that listeners who prefer hard core news will tune in to that brand of station, while the listeners who turn to their favorite FM stations – top 40, country, rock, urban, or whatever the case may be – are divided on whether or not they want talk or music. But nearly all of the listeners who got their news or entertainment from the personalities’ discussions wished that this talk covered topics of broader interest and in a manner that was witty and engaging, rather than mindless and repetitive. After all, with triple Venti lattes churning in the stomachs of stressed out nine-to-fivers, it’s not hard to find inane conversation and incessant guffaws to cause a bit of morning sickness.