In last week’s first report on our P1 research, we found that Christian format P1s have the highest level of preference for their #1 station, while CHR P1s have the lowest. This week, we’ll look at something different — how likely are various formats’ P1s to switch to a new in-format competitor?

To review, we surveyed 18-64 listeners online. We asked them to name the station they “spend the most time listening to,” ending up with 732 respondents who named a specific station. We categorized each station’s format based on its ID and market.

One of the questions we asked them was:

If another radio station in your area began to deliver the same kind of programming as [station listened to most], how likely would you be to listen to it instead of [station listened to most]?

We learned that more than half of Urban station P1s are “very likely” to switch to a new Urban competitor:

URBAN  P1s
VERY Likely 54%
SLIGHTLY  Likely 28%
UNLIKELY   4%
Don’t know 14%

And Urban’s “very likely” score is far higher than the comparable statistic for other formats’ stations:

VERY LIKELY to listen to new station instead of [station listened to most]  
URBAN 54%
ADULT CONTEMPORARY 38%
PUBLIC RADIO/NPR 37%
CHR 34%
COUNTRY 33%
AVERAGE 33%
ROCK 28%
OLDIES/CLASSIC HITS 27%
SPORTS 27%
NEWS/TALK 26%
CHRISTIAN 14%

The lowest very-likely-to-switch score belongs to Christian station P1s. That follows, given Christian P1s’ level of preference for the station they “listen to most.”

But…Christian station P1’s are not the most unlikely to switch to an in-format competitor! That distinction belongs to News/Talk and Sports P1s. In both groups, 19% are “unlikely”…higher than the comparable statistic for the P1s of  Christian (7%) or any other format’s stations:

NEWS /TALK P1s SPORTS  P1s
VERY Likely 26% 27%
SLIGHTLY  Likely 42% 47%
UNLIKELY 19% 19%
Don’t know 12%   7%

 

The listeners I find most interesting in these findings, though, is the Urban P1s. As we reported a week ago, Urban P1s do not have a significantly lower-than-average preference for their #1 station. And yet, the majority of them are very likely to listen to a new Urban station in place of the one they listen to most now! So, what’s up with them?

I have a theory… In past research, we’ve learned than Urban format P1s are more involved with radio than most listeners…more interested in radio. That could explain why they’d be very likely to try a new station delivering the same kind of programming as the one they listen to most now, even if they’re not dissatisfied with it.

It’s easier to understand the “News/Talkers.” As we noted last week, they have a higher-than-average preference for their P1 station. And we now see that they’re tied for most “unlikely” to switch.

Why? Because News/Talk stations’ programming isn’t easily duplicated. News/Talk is, after all, about credibility. It takes years to achieve it and it’s very hard to lose it!

That’s why it would be foolish to launch a News/Talk station into a competitive market and expect it to have any immediate impact. Wouldn’t it…Merlin?