In marketing for new listeners, Philadelphia’s WXPN emphasizes human touch in music curation

A new marketing campaign mounted by Philadelphia’s WXPN-FM takes aim not at other local radio stations but targets the threat of online music services such as Pandora and Spotify. The Triple A station launched a six-week campaign last week to bolster recognition of the station in its market, attract new members and try to lure people away from online competitors. The “Vinyl at Heart” campaign features bus wraps and billboards as well as refresher campaigns and live events. Research commissioned by the station four years ago sowed the seeds for the new campaign by revealing untapped potential for new listeners in the Philadelphia market. “One of the key findings was that of the people in the region that liked the kind of music we play, only half knew we even existed,” said Roger LaMay, WXPN’s g.m. “It wasn’t shocking, but nonetheless it was one of those findings that grabs you and says you need to do something.”

Those results paralleled a study of classical music listeners presented at last month’s Public Radio Program Directors conference.