The “Right” Box

“We are sending out a detailed marketing survey specifically targeting certain age groups to pinpoint the listening habits of our audiences in the following categories 18-24, 25-31, 32-40, 41-46, 47-54 and 55 plus,” Bee Boss, Sirius radio executive, explained to her team.  “We want to ensure we are meeting the needs of all our demographic groups based on their exact generation’s music and preferences.”

A few weeks later, 80-year-old, I.M. Vinyl opened up his mailed survey, completed the personal information, name, address, etc. and checked the 55 plus box on the survey in response to the demographic age group category.  The next question asked what kind of music he liked.  After a brief perusal, he quickly checked the boxes labeled 40’s music and 50’s music.  The next question asked which Sirius radio stations he listened to.  Mr. Vinyl paused for a few minutes.

“Claire, what radio channels do I like on that Sirius thing,” he asked.

“How would l know,” she replied curtly.  “They just come up on the radio.”

Survey in hand, he went into his garage.  He opened the door to his brown Cadillac Eldorado, put the keys in the ignition and turned on the radio, scrolling through his programmed channels.  Putting the survey on the steering wheel, he marked the boxes next to Siriusly Sinatra, 40s Junction, ’50s on 5, and Radio Show Classics.

About the same time, 67-year-old Cassette Track was looking at her survey.  She and her husband Eight love all the options on Sirius radio and both listen to their music on the long trips they take in their RV, exploring the US.  She completes the survey music question checking the boxes for 60’s and 70’s musical preferences.  She then scrolls through the nearly 100 box choices for their stations and checks the boxes for ’60s on 6, ’70s on 7, The Beatles Channel, Grateful Dead Channel, Elvis Radio, Oldies Party, and Love 70s Hits.

“Cassi, you forgot to fill out the demographic information,” said her husband Eight while looking over her shoulder. “Looks like the 55 plus box is the one that fits us.”

“Yeah, funny, remember when we didn’t trust anyone over 30,” Cassette laughed. “Now we are marking boxes that are nearly 2x that and still younger than us.”

In a state far far away, 55-year old Working Salesperson C.D. Rox listens to Sirius constantly as she spends a lot of time working in her car traveling to and from client appointments.

She received her survey in the mail several weeks before, but it accidentally fell in between her seat and the console in her silver BMW sport convertible.  Sitting in the parking lot of her next appointment, she was quickly eating a salad and dropped a cherry tomato.  Reaching under the seat to retrieve it, she saw the survey poking out from between the seats.

“Ok, for the chance to win a free year of Sirius, I guess I can spend a few minutes filling this out,” she said.

She checked the musical preferences boxes as 80’s music and classic rock.  She quickly glanced through channel boxes and checked ’80s on 8, Classic Rewind, Hair Band Nation, Classic Rock Party and 80s Dance Party.

“Ugh, I guess I am in the last box now,” she grimaced and then drew a line through the 55 and up box and grabbed a piece of paper out of her briefcase.

“Dear Sirius,” she wrote.  “I like your station but strongly object to being square-pegged in the round box that could fill my mother and 96-year old grandmother for that matter.  She can’t hear so doesn’t listen to radio, but if she did, she and I like completely different music. The same with my mom. Your other boxes give age gaps of five to eight years, but the last box has a possible 40 to 50-year age gap.  I am amending your error by completing this survey with the right box of my 55-64 year-old age group, which will serve your marketing purposes better than 55 to infinity or death.”

Meanwhile back at Sirius headquarters, the marketing team meet on the results of the surveys.  “Based on the survey, looks like we are right on track and can confirm our channel lineup,” Bee Boss reported. “We have all the right generational groups covered with their specific musical preferences. Good job everyone.”

(c) Copyright 2020, Suzanne Rudd Hamilton

Published by suzanneruddhamilton

I write anything from novels and children's books to plays to relate and retell everyday life experiences in a fun-filled read with heart, hope and humor. A former journalist and real estate marketing expert, I am a transplant from Chicago, now happily living in southwest Florida to keep warm and sunny all year round. You can find me at

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