Numeris helps answer the question: Who is listening to radio?

kowchmedia consultant Steve KowchFrom where I sit On The Kowch, the question radio people ask all the time is Who is listening? I was reminded of this with the latest release by Numeris of the Summer 2016 PPM Ratings in Canada’s five largest radio markets.   We are obsessed with finding the answer through focus groups, research, surveys, PPM and ballot ratings. A lot depends on the answer if you’re in radio – especially if you’re the General Manager (GM), the General Sales Manger (GSM or the Program Director (PD). Which is why I thought Numeris – the radio and television ratings service in Canada – did a great job of trying to answer the question with its infographics campaign:

Numeris Total Canada Profile graphic 2016

Numeris Millennials 2016

Numeris Boomers 2016

From where I sit On The Kowch, when I was  PD of two of Canada’s largest talk radio stations for almost 15-years, I think these infographics help people in radio to have a better understanding of who is listening. But you also have to ask yourself: Why aren’t they listening?

It was my job to convince the GM, the GSM, the news director, the producers and talk show hosts (and listeners) what I wanted to hear on CJAD in Montreal and Newstalk 1010 CFRB in Toronto. Some of these “convincing” sessions turned into epic battles with listeners.

In Montreal, for example,  ratings were slipping in 1998 at CJAD and the owners sent me to La Belle province to find out why and to fix the problem. I only had to listen for one day to figure out what the problem was. CJAD was being held hostage by so called angryphones (Anglophone seniors who spent all their lives in Quebec but never bothered to learn French) insisting the radio station only talk about the province’s language law.

When I had the audacity to go on air with a host to tell angryphones they would no longer hold the radio station hostage, they wanted to lynch me and send me packing to Toronto – or at the very least have me fired!

GM Rob Braide  supported my position and so did the staff – albeit some reluctantly. But when ratings came out a few months later our share A12+ went from a 22 to a 29 share! The radio station attracted new listeners (well in fact what we did was to recoup those who stopped listening when we abandoned Language Radio 24/7 and started talking about things of interest to them). In this case it wasn’t so much about who’s listening as much as answering the question: why aren’t they listening?

Steve Kowch ran two of Canada’s largest newstalk radio stations in Montreal and Toronto for more than 14 years. He was National Director of NewsTalk Radio Programming for Astral Media. He was a professor at two of Toronto’s leading broadcast schools and is the author of   99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Making It BIG In Media   Today Steve is Canada’s leading media coach at kowchmedia helping emerging radio talent chase their dream to become great broadcasters.

Contact Steve at 647-521-6397 or email