You wouldn't think that the readers of The Portland Phoenix Newspaper and of DownEast magazine agree on many things. You would be right. Phoenix readers could likely be found at a Guster concert while DownEast readers might be more comfortable at the Portland Symphony. But there is one thing readers of both publications agree on: Who are the best personalities on Portland Radio?
In recent polls of its readers, both The Portland Phoenix and DownEast magazine declared Blake & Eva from Coast 93.1morning show to be the best radio personalities in Maine. This is not an easy task given the number of stations that live on the Portland radio dial. Given the response to these polls, undoubtedly Blake Hayes and Eva Matteson have figured out how to connect with their station's 67,516 weekly listeners. This is a lesson worth learning for Maine small business owners who depend on radio advertising to market their products and services.
Listeners Buy What Their Favorite Personalities Are Selling
Based on the response to the two polls, Blake & Eva's listeners have created a bond on intimacy with the duo. A recent study by The University of California: Annenberg School of Communications and Journalism found that 82% of radio listeners have parasocial feelings for their favorite radio personalities. According to the study's author, Paula Woodely, a parasocial interaction "describes one-sided interpersonal relationships in which one party knows (or feels as though they know) a great deal about the other. The most common form of such relationships is between celebrities and their fans. There is an 'illusion of intimacy' between media personalities and audience in parasocial interactions." According to the study:
- 75% of respondents turn on the radio because they know their favorite personality is on the air
- 79% of respondents listen to that radio station because their favorite personality is on the air
- 85% of respondents change the station less frequently when their favorite personality is on the air
- 72% or respondents talk to their friends about their favorite personality or what they heard on the program
But most importantly, more than 50% of people with favorite radio personalities have considered or purchased a product/service advertised during their favorite radio personality’s show.
How Do Blake & Eva Do It?
We asked Blake & Eva how they prepare their morning program and how they connect with their listeners on behalf of their show's advertisers.
Radio Results Blog: To be voted as the best radio show in Maine requires a strong connection with your listeners. How do you ensure you connect?
Eva Matteson: On the air, it’s important to talk about topics relevant to our listeners—and talk with them- not at them. There is a big difference. Make it feel like more of a conversation, less of a seminar. I love that Blake and I are both authentic. We don’t “do radio” – so for better or worse, authenticity cuts through, and most people give you a pass on the worse because in life, no one is perfect. We reflect them. Off the air, Blake and I are very active in the community. Between station events, client remotes, and a number of charity events, we are able to meet a lot of people. We both are big believers in the importance of face time with listeners and potential listeners. It's probably our best marketing tool.
RRB: You spend 5 hours every weekday entertaining and informing your audience. How do you prepare for each show?
Eva: EVERYTHING is fodder for the show. Observations, trends, conversations—We start with a basic plan based on our prep services, news and trending stories, if something hits big we try to go with it and expand it in different directions. Being aware of what’s going on in pop culture is very important.
RRB: You produce your show in the studio alone, how do you know your show is having the desired effect on your listeners?
Blake: We don't! It's kinda weird; it's not like a stand-up comedian who has a live audience that gives immediate feedback. We just have to go with our gut! We can tell a particular topic is good based on the phone response but sometimes that's not a good gauge; you never know why people aren't or are calling. It's mostly instinct.
Eva: It’s hard – you can have the best phone topic idea and no calls, or we can make a joke about a tomato and the phones light up. Some of our most successful and recognized bits weren’t planned, but grew into viral bits—Eva’s Apron, Blake’s tight pants. Blake is good about knowing when we’ve peaked on a topic.
RRB: You do quite a few endorsement and live commercials for advertisers on your radio station. Why are they so effective?
Blake: If you can't decide where to go eat, are you more likely to try the place you saw on a billboard or the place a friend recommended? Even though we haven't personally met many of our listeners, we have a unique personal relationship with them. We are their buddies in the car when they're by themselves, with their families or whatever. So when we come on to talk about a car dealer, or a credit union, or a restaurant I think they're much more likely to actually go try that place. It's like a recommendation from a friend.
Eva: Many of our listeners feel like they know us—so it probably feels to them less of a commercial and more of commentary about the pros and benefits of choosing the product.
RRB: People have an overwhelming choice of media to choose from, why do they choose radio and your show?
Blake: First of all, radio is easy. Every car has it, you just push one button, and it's free. But there's nowhere else people will get the same reliable entertainment from people they feel like they know who live and work in the same community. There are lots more options - but they're not necessarily ones people want in the morning!
Eva: Radio is easy- turn it on, it’s free and you are pretty much assured of getting a mix of funny/news/pop culture/information. It’s how it’s delivered that is where the difference is. I can honestly say for the first time in my 10.5 years here—I feel like people are actually telling their friends to listen to our show—helping us spread the word. Everyone wants to feel part of a community—we have a great community here, and we laugh a lot!
RRB: What was your favorite moment on the Coast 93.1 Morning Show?
Blake: We have had so many!!! Whenever we end the segment cracking up goes in the favorite category. The day we played an April fools joke with a subtle cat meow sound effect, making people think they were crazy, was a pretty great one too. But the moments I will most remember are the serious, personal and candid conversations we've had with listeners, like the one with Maddie. Maddie is 14 and had just come out as lesbian to her family. She called because she was upset her grandmother was having a hard time accepting it. We had a conversation with her about giving her some time, and that she'll come around. I remember saying "Maddie, it took you a few years to be ok with it yourself right? And that's YOU! Give grandma a little time. She loves you. You just have to let her remember that and not get mad or impatient." A few weeks later, she called to "tell us something good," a segment we do Friday mornings. Her grandmother had come around. Those are the moments that are my favorite.
Eva: Hard to pick one. I loved when Blake created the “Fifty Shades of Eva” trailer for the 50 Shades opening. It was spot on, creative, exclusive, and very funny. I also love when we so connect on something funny and both just start laughing and going building on it! Sometimes on a topic, a caller will say something profound or so funny, that I can only imagine people listening in their cars or at home are cracking up!
RRB: What is the most common thing for people say when they meet you in person for the first time?
Blake: "You're a baby!" Haha. I guess I sound older than I am. Better than looking older, right? Haha.
Eva: “I love your show” “I listen every day!” My laugh is very recognizable so many people comment on it. People also realize I am the same on and off the air—that authentic thing again. People can instantly detect BS and fakeness.
RRB: What should Maine business owners know about advertising on your show?
Blake: Effective advertising is making your commercial memorable (funny, pulling heartstrings, whatever works) and giving it enough frequency to reach enough people to hit those who will take action and seek out your service or product. I think our show has a lot of momentum right now, which means we are delivering more listeners to each commercial, and the listening is much more active in the morning. You have to have the right spot - or choose the right on-air ambassador - and run it often enough to be effective. I think many of our advertisers have found the personality of our show helps reach their customers but it has to be enacted with the right strategic plan! That's what our sales team is so great at. It's so rewarding to connect good clients with listeners who want a great product or service!
Eva: We celebrated our first year working together in January, and have really solidified our roles, our pacing, our focus, and what our show is. I think we both feel the swell of momentum of show has gained, the number of people who know of our show and us.
Blake & Eva can be heard live every weekday morning between 5am and 9am on Coast 93.1.
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