Charlie Cook On Air: Go Where The Kids Go

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Charlie Cook

I have been a research geek forever. Going back to my early years in radio with Bill Moyes research and up through Stratford and Edison media, I have always been fascinated to see what the consumers like about radio, music, personalities and trends. This is why I am so impressed with what CMA Senior Director of Market Research Karen Stump does with her staff for the country music/radio community.

I’m not sure how many of my radio colleagues have seen the most recent study, released last month. The radio and record industries are tied to the consumer’s discretionary time and money. Radio can use this material to make some money with clients and the record industry can intersect the listener’s lifestyle for their entertainment dollars.

This research identified how families spend their money on entertainment. The study looked at country music fans and helps us understand how our users spend their flexible time. Most of these studies are culled from the 13,000 country music consumers who have opted into the CMA program. This helps us identify active partisans. Otherwise known as “our target.”

One finding is the amount of money, energy and time families spend on entertainment. Eighty-six percent of country music households with children participated in paid family activities in the last 12 months. Top single day events include going to the movies (maybe a GREAT venue to run a radio station commercial), attending concerts and music festivals, and visiting family entertainment centers like bowling, miniature golf, skating rinks and go-carts. Zoos, museums, water parks and camping are all high on the list of family activities.

If families pack the car for multi-day trips, amusement parks like Disney and Six Flags were the number one choices. If you think the economy is putting pressure on money spent for family entertainment, think again. Forty percent of families participate in weekly events and 72 percent of country music families, that make more than $75,000 per year, spend $100 or more per month on single day family activities.

I wonder what it would take for a family of four to attend a concert? With tickets, parking and refreshments would this one day event be closer to $400? Is there an opportunity to put together some newer act tours where the performers are not doing 100 free shows a year but families can enjoy the time together and at the same time see great live music? And the performers can generate a little income and merch money.

In fact, attending a live concert/music festival scored an A+ for family enjoyment. The highest score recorded. The zoo and camping were close behind. I do like that 73 percent of the consumers say “spending quality time as a family” is the primary goal of participating family activities. This tells me the money is not a deal breaker. Walt Disney World and one of the Six Flags parks lead the pack for top parks visited by country music households in past 12 months. As an aside, I live three miles from Six Flags Magic Mountain and I have NEVER been there.

For radio station sales staffs, this report gives you a heads up to the listener’s plans in the immediate future. Disney World, Universal Studios, Sea World and Six Flags lead the desired list and maybe there is an opportunity for sales and or promotions. For artists, knowing these are the places your fans are going to go over the summer, maybe tying in or doing shows at the parks would be an opportunity. Check out the study at, and drop Karen a note telling her how important this information is to the format’s health.

Happy Travels…in and out of town.

(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of MusicRow.)






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