Last week, I wrote about my admiration for the Country format. But does that mean I am an advocate for Country? Does it mean I recommend it more than other formats? Does it mean that Mark Kassof & Co. is a “Country specialist”?
Country stations represent a minority of our clients. CHR, Rock, A/C, Urban, Classic, etc. stations also represent a minority.
A true researcher is not an advocate or specialist in any format. A true researcher approaches every situation strategically. In some cases, Country is the best format for a client. In other cases, Country is dead wrong, even though it is a great format!
Researchers make a huge mistake when they tie themselves to a particular format. In the ’90s, both Coleman Research and the (now defunct) Research Group went through a period of pushing the ’70s format. We all know how that turned out. More recently, some “researchers” are touting their “Jack expertise.”
Research by its very nature must be objective. Researchers must be receptive to whatever listeners tell them, even if it doesn’t fit conventional wisdom or preconceived notions. And researchers should not promote specific formats or strategies. They should be open to all of them.
The last thing radio needs is research firms jumping on the latest, hottest industry “buzz.” Radio is quite capable of doing that all by itself!