Your Guide To Audience Targeting in Radio

Delivering great content that listeners love is a broadcaster’s top priority. Customizing that content for a specific audience enhances the overall listening experience for your audience even more, and that’s where the ability to target comes in. Audience targeting in radio can be defined as the method of categorising listeners into segments based on different variables such as demographic data. These targeting parameters include but are not limited to age, gender, language, location, preferences, hobbies, lifestyles, race, ethnicity, education, and more. 

Defining your radio audience helps station owners identify the listeners they already have, as well as set a baseline for listeners they want to reach and attract to their station. So why is audience targeting important and how does it apply to radio? Read on to learn more.

Importance of Audience Targeting In Radio

Not all listeners are alike. Their interests, including hobbies, music, beliefs, and more, are different which means that one of your stations might not appeal to your entire audience. For this simple reason, it is imperative for radio station owners to define their target audience for their station, to better serve their audience. Targeting enables broadcasters to customize content for a specific audience, resulting in better engagement. Additionally, knowing what content your audience wants to listen to helps you understand the consumption behaviours of your listeners such as the time and devices your target audience is listening from, helping you further increase your reach. 

How to Define Your Target Audience

To define your audience, you need to be able to define the goals of your station. Goals differ from station to station, from increasing advertising revenue, serving community needs, entertainment purposes to educating audiences around specific topics. Once you have set your station goals, it makes it easier to narrow down your audience. Internet radio presents a lot of competition as there are thousands of stations to choose from, and one way of standing out is by making your station very specialised. If you are however the only station in your area or region, you can easily broaden your audience.

Common Audience Targeting Parameters in Radio

They are different targeting options that radio owners can use, with demographic targeting being the most common. This includes targeting your audience based on variables such as age, gender, language, location, preferences, hobbies, lifestyles, race, ethnicity, education, and more. You can also mix up different variables to come up with your target audience, for example, you can choose to target males between the ages of 35-50, living in California, who love rock n roll music. 

Below are some of the popular audience targeting options for radio stations:

  • Location Targeting – One common option for audience targeting is through geo-location. Station owners can choose to target listeners by country, city or even suburb level. For more specialized stations, location targeting can also be bundled with language targeting, for example, a station can target a specific town, broadcasting to listeners who speak a specific language. If you are looking for a solution that enables you to geo-target your audience, then SAM Broadcaster Cloud is the right solution for you.

    SAM Broadcaster Cloud has recently introduced the geo-blocking feature, which enables you to limit the listening audience for your radio station(s) by their location, enabling you to target specific audiences to increase a listener’s engagement. Additionally, with SAM Broadcaster Cloud, you can have multiple stations each targeting different countries whilst taking advantage of the shared cloud library for music tracks, playlists, jingles and sweeps. The shared cloud library enables you to use one music library across all your stations, saving you upload time as a track is uploaded once and data. Playlists, jingles and sweeps can also be shared amongst the stations. Click here to learn more.
  • Music Genre and Age Groups – Audience segmentation by music genre is one of the most popular ways of audience targeting. Music preference is usually mixed with the age variable, as specific genres typically appeal to different age groups. According to, pop music is most popular amongst 16 to 19 year olds. Classic rock and country is a top three favourite amongst the different age groups. By segmenting your audience based on music and genre, you can play the music that your target audience enjoys, keeping them engaged. This, however, needs to be tailored by mixing your songs well, having well-curated playlists and adding the right content such as engaging topic discussions to the mix.
  • Radio Formats – Radio formats refer to the overall content of the station, and are commonly used to define audiences for radio stations as many radio formats already have predefined audiences that they serve. According to the Radio Audience Bureau, the top radio formats in the United States are news/talk, top 40, country, adult contemporary, adult hits and classic hits, with each having its target audience formed from a combination of demographic variables. 

Multiple Audience Targeting – Does This Work?

Some radio stations prefer to target multiple audiences by having different program segments on one station that targets different demographics. For example, a station can run a show for young teens in the morning and a late-night show for adults. Whilst this model works for advertising numbers, if the station is not consistent with its timing for different segments, you may end up losing listeners who tune into a wrong segment if they are not aware of the program line up.

The Benefits of Targeted Audio Advertising 

Audience targeting is advantageous when it comes to radio advertising. If your main goal is to attract advertisers, then having a small number of devoted listeners might not yield the desired results as radio stations with high reach tend to easily attract advertisers. Defining your audience during the early stages of building your station, will however yield results for you in the future when your station finally picks up the numbers as advertisers are also attracted by stations with a more devoted, solid listeners’ base. 

Knowing the top radio formats and their most appealed to demographic can also help you make a decision when defining your audience for radio advertising. Top radio formats have segments they serve, and if you choose a popular radio format for your radio station and market the station well, your audience will likely be big enough to attract the numbers for advertising. For example, if your station targets listeners who are fans of a specific artist, the reach will be lower, compared to a station targeting listeners who prefer to listen to adult contemporary music. Predefined radio formats, however are usually used by thousands of stations, and the competition for listeners is steep, so your station has to offer something extra that can capture your listeners’ interest.

If generating revenue through audio advertising is your goal, Triton Digital provides the most advanced dynamic ad insertion (DAI) technology on the market, enabling audio publishers (such as radio broadcasters) to effortlessly monetize their content through the dynamic insertion of targeted audio ads. DAI enhances the overall listening experience for your audience by delivering them more relevant and personal ads that increase engagement.. To learn more about Triton’s audio advertising solution, click here.

We hope these tips have provided you with the information you need to get started refining the target audience of your radio station. If you want to start a radio station or get 30% OFF SAM Broadcaster Cloud, click here to get started or contact us at today.