James Cridland's blog

A radio futurologist writing about what happens when radio and new platforms collide
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Radio makes you happy and more energetic: official

Posted on Tuesday, June 28th, 2011 at 11:19 am. #

Radio makes you happy

A very smart event at the RAB this morning with some intriguing research about radio and mood.

We all know that we react better to things when we’re happy. Ask someone something when they’re annoyed or tired, and the answer will be very different than if they’re happy and energised. That’s almost so obvious it’s not worth doing any research into.

Someone very bright at the RAB must have realised that this is relevant to advertisers. Ask someone to buy something, and they’re going to be more receptive if they’re in a decent mood.

And that same person must have also realised that radio – particularly breakfast radio, which is designed in many ways to put you in a good mood for the day ahead – might have an advantage over other media.

Mark Barber, the RAB’s Director of Planning, admitted today that they underestimated quite how radio changes peoples’ mood. Working with research company Sparkler, they discovered that radio has a significant effect on peoples’ mood, particularly when compared with other media. The graph is above, thanks to my mobile phone’s built-in camera. All media has a tremendous effect on peoples’ mood: but radio particularly so.

What does this mean for content, though?

One of the slightly more bizarre things that Sparkler did was to stick 64 electrodes to the heads of some participants and work out whether brain activity was different when you surrounded radio commercials with sparkling “radio editorial”, which was here defined as “presenter conversation and a song fragment”. The results? Ads preceded by engaging radio editorial showed significantly more positive engagement (in terms of average levels of left hemisphere Gamma activity) than ads played surrounded by silence.

The question I have is whether it was the presenter conversation that kicked this positive engagement off, or the music. If it’s presenter conversation, then talk stations such as LBC, or Christian O’Connell’s fairly speech-heavy breakfast show, should result in better engagement than non-stop music merchants, like daytime JACK fm stations.

This was fascinating, if heavy, research on radio consumption – good on the RadioCentre and RAB to have spent the time and money on the research. And perhaps it explains some of the reasons why people love working in radio: because it makes them happy.

The research is on the RAB website here if you want to know more.

Keep smiling!

Later: there’s more research around this – and it says the same thing!

2 comments

Richard
commenting at June 29th, 2011 at 5:22 am

Awesome! I’m sending this to the boss.

Radio makes you feel happy and energised – part two - James Cridland
commenting at June 30th, 2011 at 10:42 am

[...] The other day, I posted about the RAB’s good new research – Radio makes you happy and more energetic – official. [...]

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