Genergraphics: Supercharging Radio Sales

Radio's New Revenue Opportunity

In a series of recent interviews with radio marketing directors,  Bridge Ratings Media Research learned that most companies (55%) use demographics (statistical data relating to the population and particular groups within it) when marketing for increasing reach; 25% use psychographics (the study and classification of people according to their attitudes, aspirations, and other psychological criteria) and 20% use some form of Genergraphics (separating the generations and their mindsets for marketing and advertising). 

Why is this important? 

In today's world of media overload, marketing messages generally do not cut through beyond "awareness" to "engagement" as much as they used to.

With so much clutter, a more focused approach to marketing/sales is needed and we're finding the genergraphic approach to marketing stimulates engagement and consumer recognition. This is because marketing messaging created with generational mindset vs demographic definition is much more effective. 

Analyst Jack Myers has released new data suggesting the potential for radio to break out of "the new normal" of the last few years' 0%-2% annual revenue growth.

Jack indicates that the growth of audio advertising will flourish at least through 2020 with "over the air broadcast" to cordon off the "lion's share of total audio spend in 2020". The number is 80% of the $20.8 billion forecast to be spent on audio advertising in 2020 leaving 20% for digital pureplays like Pandora and Spotify.

With this good news is even better news: if radio can perfect its sales approach by properly defining consumers, response to advertising will improve and increased dollars will flow.

Radio's been a fan of audience research for decades, refining it over the years to improve ratings and sales.

Audience insights through demographics brought a sophistication to radio ad buying and further improved with targeted advertising such as content and textual targeting, time targeting, sociodemographic targeting and behavioral targeting. 

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These tactics have been beneficial to radio, but as media consumption becomes more layered there is one definitive approach that should be given a closer look: Genergraphics - the marketing approach that combines psychographics with the sociological mindset of a specific generation.

The challenge is to shred the old school approach of demographic marketing to embrace a new, more targeted way of selling, programming and advertising.

It's time for a change.

The days of marketing to the wide 25-54 demographic or 50+ needs to be invigorated and Genergraphics is the answer.

Genergraphics® is the brainchild of Phil Goodman who also holds a process patent on Genergraphics Web sites. Phil Goodman and Craig Carapelho have brought together their experience and expertise in order to develop a full array of Genergraphics marketing services including Genergraphics Web sites, advertising and product marketing, market research, and communications consulting services. There's much to be learned here.


Generational marketing is more sophisticated and accurate in reaching consumers than common methods of dissecting a market by demographics or lesser-known psychographic analysis.

A generation is defined by the rise and fall of the birth rates by the Census Bureau.

Genergraphics and psychographics are both derived from sociology, but there is a big difference between the two. Genergraphics goes beyond an individual's personality which is pretty much determined by the age of six.  It equates to a person's mindset from their generation which is based on social circumstances of their youthful formative years (12-16 years of age).

Think about this: two people can have similar personalities but be members of different generations. 

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Generations can buy the same product or service but they purchase for different reasons. The number one reason many ad campaigns don't succeed as much as they should can be traced to the segmentation of consumers by demographics. The commonly-used 25-54-year-old demographic consists of three distinct generations who may like the same products and services but can be motivated to purchase for very different reasons.

Genergraphics market research does all that demographics and psychographics can do, but it goes further by revealing the "why" and "how" a generation does or does not influence another generation in buying decisions. 


More importantly, generagraphics will show you how to sell and market to more than one generation at a time without alienating the others that purchase the same product or service.

So, radio, keep this in mind...Genergraphics keeps the research for your clients on track by following different generations through different stages of their lives. 

Keep in mind that the social and historical events that occur during a young person's formative years (12-16) will dictate how they think for the rest of their lives. 

18-24 year olds in the 80s grew up in a far different world than today's 18-24s. Someone in their formative years in 1985 was born around 1970. The culture they grew up in still guides their consumption and entertainment choices today thirty-three years later.

Marketing should vary by mindset with an understanding that each generation carries its own unique set of circumstances which shape its expectations and way of life.

Traditional media has generally depended on demographics to target its audience for both sales and product research. In this age of media bombardment, marketing messages are challenged to break through. It's  time to move to a more focused approach.

Radio has all the tools to take advantage of generational marketing. 

New Generational Insights*

Millennials can’t seem to get a break. They are said to be either too lazy or too disruptive.  They are either all flocking to the suburbs, or to the city or some other various homogenization.  This 80+ million demographic is a mystery to most in marketers precisely because the vast majority of people believe that Millennials act as a monolith, and nothing could be farther from the truth.

In fact, there is a minimum of four sub-demographics that actually range wildly in values and culture  Forbes magazine offers this snapshot of three key areas-to-watch, as they intersect with tech, during these next couple quarters as they pertain to various parts of the Millennial demographic:

A. Money, Honey – Watch for an even greater intersection of Millennial behavioral trends and new scenarios around money including cryptocurrency. Crypto is very much a millennial’s game, with 17.21% of millennials claiming to own crypto, versus only 8.75% of Gen X and 2.24% of baby boomers jumping into digital currency, this new area of finance is more of an “Uber” Millennial play at the moment, not all Millennials in total.  The “Uber” Millennial is college-educated, more apt to live in a major city, and is a professional/upwardly mobile, among several other traits. This is the disruptor who is more financially stable and who is game for innovation.

B. Diversity - Race and ethnicity, not only pertaining to that steady drumbeat of diversity and inclusion, but also and missteps around this area as well as debate and conversation will grow in volume for certain segments of the Millennial audience.  While “Vice” Millennials (think hipsters, anti-mainstream, lovers of vintage) will continue to abstain from this conversation except within their own closely guarded circles, the “Culture” Millennial will see this area as a growing topic of interest but will show support via media properties (i.e. film, music videos) that address the issues rather than direct protest or organization and most of the sentiment will be expressed via Instagram.

C. Brother’s Keeper – The demand for social responsibility and identification of who stands for what will deepen, particularly when it comes to powerful corporations.  Much examination will be done out-loud via social media giving few brands time to prepare.

The debate around artificial Intelligence for good (or bad) will grow in volume within this trend segment as well. This will mostly be spearheaded by the  “Uber” Millennial, though other sub-demos of Millennials will join in freely depending upon the topic and the target.  This trend could and will impact any industry.

Gen-Y? Yes, The Echo Boomers

Gen-Y experienced 72 million births in the U.S.. They're called Echo Boomers because they are (mostly children of the Boomers coming after Generation-X. What key characteristics define this generation? One reason they are so important is because of the generation's size which is critical for a marketer to appreciate.

This generation saw events in their youths that made them cynical about job security based on how their parents lost careers in the 90's.

Tech/Web Savvy:

I’ll send you an email’.  Generation Y were born into an emerging world of technology and have grown up surrounded by smart phones, laptops, tablets and other gadgets. As a generation people are constantly plugged into technology and it becomes an essential aspect of the generations life. And they do not respond to traditional marketing methods. 

Generation Y prefer to communicate more quickly and effectively via email, social networks or text messaging as opposed to traditional means of communication. The generation are also attracted to organizations where technology is at the forefront of the companies ethos. Traditional companies are less of an attraction for the millennial generation . 


Echo Boomers need praise. They were always told how special they were when they were growing up and thus believe they are quite special. As a result they are highly confident and expect praise. This is a lesson for human resource managers and business managers: give Echo Boomers the praise they deserve.


Generation Y are confident and ambitious.  Expectations typically need to be managed as Generation Y’s are confident to take on important roles within organizations as soon as they begin. As an organization the difficulty is managing these expectations without stifling creativity and development. Generation Y have high expectations of their employers and expect this to be matched. Many are not afraid to seek employment elsewhere if this ambition is not met. Unlike generations before them they are happy to change job roles more often to find the right organisation to work within.

Team Players:

Teamwork is high on the agenda of Generation Y, but they still expect structure in the workplace.


Because of technology, Gen-Y are the first truly global generation. They are group-oriented, adaptable and excel at processing information quickly. It is important for marketers to speak through the tech and social media methods that this generation is so comfortable with. 

Final Thoughts

Regardless of targets, the Genergraphic approach to marketing supercharges the effort and focuses the message. Position your product to reach new age groups by appealing to their core values and needs. Marketing to each generation requires different mindsets and strategies. Communicating with different generations to sell products and services can be tricky yet Genergraphics can solve the puzzle.

Genergraphics can:

• Identify strong market segments within each generation based on differences in actual consumer behavior.

• Determine future demand in a dynamic marketplace as baby boomers mature and generation x'ers and Millennials mature in their prime earning years.

• Reposition your products to meet the needs and expectations of new generations as they transition into your market's target age range.

• Enhance cross-sell opportunities by knowing the entire market basket of goods and services used by different segments within each of the generations.

If there was ever a time to take advantage of this research-based lifestyle approach to marketing, it is today as digital media platforms coupled with traditional media targeting empower business to be effective communicators.

*New Generational Insights were derived from a national Bridge Ratings study fielded between March 1, 2018 through April 30, 2018 with a random sample of 4020 persons ages 6+. Sample error = +/-1.2%. Interviews were done through focus group interviews and on-line questionnaires. The sample consisted of 52% women, 48% men.

Music Radio's Poison Pill

While discussing the Bridge Ratings' streaming data for his station the other day, the station's program director and I raised the question of what traditional radio's purpose was in 2016.

With so many options available to consumers, studies have consistently shown in recent years that traditional radio's role is to play the hits, the songs listeners want to hear again and again.

Yet, radio's role has always been to play 'the hits'.  It's just that today we are fortunate enough to have the tech that actually shows what the hits are.

Radio has proven to be the curator of choice.
— Dave Van Dyke, President Bridge Ratings

We see it time and again in our radio usage field studies: today consumers choose radio for the most popular music and choose streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, even Pandora when they desire to control what they listen to and when. Radio has proven to be the curator-of-choice. It is clear that traditional radio and music streaming together have been expanding the consumption of music in the last two years.

Then why are so many radio stations not reflecting as close as they can to 100% of their listeners' favorite music?

The information is readily available through on-demand streaming research which Bridge Ratings provides to stations around the country on a weekly basis.

As I've written in this space previously, on-demand streaming is a much better indicator of true music appeal and consumption that any other music research radio relies on.

The least effective method of managing music rotations is a poison pill by programming by consensus, i.e. watching the published airplay charts available and programming based on how songs rise and fall on those charts.

Read my blog "Stop Programming By Consensus" for more detail.

This method causes slow station death as listeners tune out more than they tune in because they are seeking the quick satisfaction of hearing their favorites.

Those industry publications are printing charts based on hundreds of similarly formatted radio stations the results of which is a chart of averages of airplay by programmers who are each watching each other's playlists.

Add the music industry's release strategies and we end up with a chart that really is the furthest thing from reliable data on radio listeners' favorite music.

Using published airplay charts to determine music popularity causes slow station death as listeners tune out more than they tune in.
— Dave Van Dyke, President Bridge Ratings

Case in point.

We recently did an analysis of four key radio music formats: CHR, Urban, Country and Alternative to see the correlation between published airplay charts and true music consumption reflected in on-demand music streaming charts.

Radio finds itself in a position to be led by the available technology - on-demand streaming data.

High correlation means that the two charts - published airplay vs. on-demand streaming of identical lists of songs - are fairly well aligned or similar.

These results may surprise you.

Keep in mind the definition of the word "correlation". Correlation measures the strength of association between two sets of variables. In this case, we are checking the correlation between published airplay chart rankers and on-demand streaming rankers.

Here are the correlations:

How to read: 65% of the top 100 Top 40 (CHR) songs on published radio airplay charts correlate in rank with on-demand streaming charts. 35% of the top 100 Alternative Music songs on published radio airplay charts correlate in rank with on-demand streaming charts.

  • CHR/Top 40 - 65%
  • Country - 60%
  • Urban - 44%
  • Alternative - 35%

The CHR/Top 40 correlation is surprisingly high. The airplay and streaming charts are fairly highly correlated at 65%. This may be attributed to the fact that Top 40 hits are more universally consumed or that Top 40 programmers are more unified in their song choices and rotations.

The same can be said for Country with a 60% correlation. 60% of the top 100 songs on published industry music charts hold rank positions with a margin of error +/- 10%. The remaining 40% hold weekly ranks that do not represent the true consumption by fans of the format as determined by the on-demand streaming research Bridge Ratings analyzes each week.

But it gets more interesting.  

Of the radio music formats dissected for this report, Urban is next with 44% correlation to the published charts top 100 songs by rank.

There are many examples of songs that rank considerably higher on station streaming charts compared to the published charts available.

And we often find songs on published charts with lower rankings for longer periods of time when compared to on-demand streaming data especially when examined by station and market.

The Alternative charts we've studied only correlate with 35% of the songs ranked by airplay. The format certainly offers a unique mix of hit singles and hit album cuts and that variety may be feeding the significant variance between actual airplay and actual consumption determined through on-demand streaming analysis for both Alternative and Urban radio.

For Alternative radio, Twenty-One Pilots is creating all sorts of challenges for radio programmers these days. With the huge success of their current album, we're seeing a number of 21 Pilots' songs rising into the top 75 most-consumed songs by that format's primary listeners. Some of these songs are currents released in the past 45 weeks but many are gold and radio programmers using old school format playbooks are struggling to properly reflect the popularity of this group.

So they don't play many of the most-highly listened to songs by this group. Or if they play some of them, they are not being heard nearly enough by the target listener.

Coldplay is another example. And there are many others.

Traditional radio doesn't seem to have truly migrated to using on-demand streaming data to program its stations. For the first time, radio is no longer able to dictate its musical approach to listeners. Rather, radio finds itself in a position to be led by the technology - on-demand streaming data.

And that reversal of roles is causing consternation among those whose responsibility it is to reflect the tastes of today's music consumer as it applies to radio's role as the source of hit music.

Through viral sharing and social media recommendations, music fans and radio are now on divergent paths.

Bottom line: published airplay charts - in general - do not correlate with actual consumption of music as represented by on-demand streaming charts. Radio listeners have very good taste in music and through viral sharing and social media recommendations, music fans and radio are now on divergent paths.

Radio station programmers who understand this reality will reflect today's true music consumption behavior and will properly reflect consumer tastes.

Dave Van Dyke

Methodology: Correlations were calculated by running correlation analyses comparing an average of four of each music format's top 100 published lists during the month of September 2016 with Bridge Ratings' on-demand streaming rankers for each music format. Song rankings outside of the standard deviation of +/- 10% contributed to the overall correlation variances noted in this analysis.

Stop Programming By Consensus

If you've been following Bridge Ratings' research pieces about on-demand music streaming and its value to radio programmers, the following is the latest in the insight we've gained from discussing this important technology with programmers in markets large and small.

Back in the day when there were no radio station monitoring services like BDSradio (from Nielsen) or Mediabase, radio programmers had to rely on their own gut, local research and listener input to determine the best songs to play.

Sometimes, programmer ingenuity provided insight.

If a programmer wanted to hear a respected station in another city, they'd ask the GM for some travel money, get on a plane and spend a few days in that other market manually monitoring the station, logging all songs, promos and clocks.

Returning to their home market, the Program Director would lovingly analyze their notes and determine the application - if any - to their local situation.

With the coming of technology these types of market trips are generally no longer necessary, what with monitoring services and on-line streaming.

Isn't technology great?

In this case, I think not.

Published station and radio format charts are now available to programmers, many of whom depend on these charts to determine song selection and rotations. The published charts do have their value to some program directors.

These format charts are an aggregation of dozens - even hundreds - of stations in different markets. Now that music research has been eliminated from many radio station budgets, the phenomenon of "Consensus Programming" has disrupted radio's ability to properly expose music to its listeners.

Programming by consensus means that programmers all across our great land look to the published charts for their formats and adjust their music categories based on the aggregate.

The resulting playlists may be 100% appropriate for some market situations.

Or more likely - those lists are a general view of radio airplay across fifty states.

The result is hundreds - maybe thousands - of radio stations are playing song lists that are very similar.

And this is where the wheels come off.

For over two years, Bridge Ratings has been providing on-demand streaming music research to our clients and we have learned at least a couple of important concepts:

1. Programming by consensus results in stations adding songs too late and getting off songs too early in more cases than not.

2. The lifecycle of hit songs - whether current or old - is much longer than we've ever thought.

Here are two examples:

A) The current multi-format smash "I Took A Pill In Ibiza" by Mike Posner has just recently appeared in published charts in the top ten most-played songs on Top 40 radio. It's still trending up. Our streaming research showed that true consumption of that song was in the Top 5 eight weeks ago!

What does this mean? It means that the published charts showed "Ibiza" gradually climbing the charts from outside the top 50 to it's current Top 10 status. Radio's listeners were streaming this song multiple times a week long before radio caught on!

B) Country music star Chris Stapleton's song "Fire Away"  blasted into the top 20 most on-demand streamed songs right after Chris' ACM award windfall on April 3. Yet the song was not even ranked in the top 50 most-played songs by the aggregate of America's Country music stations.  Based on personal guidelines, a Country music programmer seeing this may consider that it's too early to play that song and will wait to see if it rises high enough to warrant adding to their playlist.

Meanwhile, Country music fans were streaming the heck out of that song.

If not enough Country stations add "Fire Away", it could very well stall outside the top 40 and never get a rightful place on American broadcast radio.

In our analysis, Bridge Ratings found that in 55% of the cases studied, the aggregate music charts are not representative of true music consumption has observed in week after week of on-demand streaming data.

As digital data becomes more available through streaming data providers and platforms like Shazam, programmers are, indeed, better equipped to see how music fans are consuming.

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Yet, the most accurate method we have found to determine song popularity, longevity and viability, is on-demand streaming data.

The chart to the right compares a recent Pop song's on-demand streaming lifecyle with that of consensus/published charts over the course of 15 weeks.

Upon release, on-demand streaming for this song vaulted into the top five almost immediately. It's popularity grew as more fans became aware through word-of-mouth, broadcast radio and other streaming services.

It sustained this lofty position for the full fifteen weeks.

By comparison, upon its release, radio added the song and it was first ranked #78 on published radio airplay charts. As the chart shows, it took six to seven weeks before the aggregate of radio had pushed the song into the top 10 where it slowly faded after programmers must've considered the song overplayed or burned out.

As this song's progress on the published chart slowed, programmers got off the record or slowed its rotation.  Meanwhile, demand for the song remained extremely hot through on-demand streaming platforms from YouTube to Spotify to Amazon Prime.

We have found that on-demand streaming where consumers choose what they want to listen to, is more closely aligned with the behavior of radio listening than any other type of music research.

So, if you're a radio programmer reading your listeners a favor and stop programming by consensus.