The Radio Advantage: Reaching More People, More Ofte


With all the media choices and access platforms available to consumers – televisions, computers, smartphones, tablets, etc. – it’s sometimes easy to overlook the advantages that radio offers. And, just to be clear on this, there are quite a few.

So let’s take a look at what radio offers that is hard for other media options to beat.

Radio is:

  • A Reach Monster with Great Targetability
  • Live and Local
  • Mobile and Convenient
  • Informative and Educational
  • Close to the Point-of-Purchase

So let’s take a few moments to explore each of these advantages, starting with its massive reach. First of all, remember that radio is ubiquitous. Every week, radio reaches an impressive 90% of all New York metro residents age 6 or older. Think Millenials don’t listen to radio anymore? On the contrary – 87% of New York metro residents age 12 to 24 are reached by radio each week. In addition, radio reaches 89% of New York metro African Americans, and 91% of Hispanics. Radio is a 24/7 medium that people depend on as a reliable media companion, capturing 9 hours and 45 minutes of tune-in each week by the average New York metro listener. 1

Radio allows advertisers to precisely target an audience. There are 58 radio stations home to the New York metro alone that meet Nielsen Audio’s minimum reporting standards.2 The variety of formats allow advertisers to effectively focus on the station that best suits their product or service. Add in the ability to target consumers by gender, age, geography, social or common interest groups, and advertisers are able to easily identify which stations are the most effective to use. Plus, advertisers can be very specific about getting their message to their target audience, further zeroing in on what times or on-air personalities will best enhance their message.

That brings us to radio’s “live and local” benefit. It’s hard to beat the relationship that consumers feel with their favorite on-air personalities. These personalities are an important factor as to why listeners choose a particular station. They create trust and a comfort level among listeners that helps foster goodwill and credibility to advertisers’ products or services. And, when the DJ does a live remote or becomes involved with a local charity or event and interacts with the community, it further cements the loyalty of that station’s audience. How loyal? According to a recent study, 78% of those surveyed agree that radio has the power to make a difference in the community. In addition, 72% of those surveyed believe radio is more community-oriented than TV.3

Moving right along … and that’s the point. Radio is mobile. Listeners can tune in at home, in their cars, and at work. No other medium is as widely utilized in as many different places. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of New York metro radio listening occurs away from home.4 Plus, when it comes to the car, radio is the top device, with 84% of drivers citing radio as their primary in-car entertainment device 5 and it dominates the workplace with Adults 25-54 spending 48% of media time with radio per day.6

In addition to radio’s mobility, how about its sheer convenience? Because it can be accessed on so many devices, it’s available practically whenever and wherever listeners want it. For example, 44% of smartphone users listen to radio online and 55% listen to their favorite personalities on computers or mobile devices when away from a radio. 7

So, people listen to their favorite stations/personalities for fun and entertainment, of course. But they also listen in times of crisis or natural disasters. Radio informs and educates the public while events are unfolding. For example, on August 28, 2011, during Hurricane Irene, midday cume on news radio in New York doubled. 8 Radio also delivers the local information listeners need that ranges from traffic and weather updates to local culture, sports, politicians, and businesses.

Last, but certainly not least, radio’s close proximity to the point-of-purchase is a huge advantage over other media. A whopping 90% of consumers are in their vehicles less than six minutes before shopping. 9

More people, more often, more cost effective: The advantage of radio is clear.


  1. Nielsen Audio, New York, Sep13-Aug14 multi-book average, Mon-Sun 6A-12Mid
  2. Nielsen Audio, New York eBook, Aug14
  3. Clear Channel Media & Entertainment, “State of Listening in America,” 2013
  4. Nielsen Audio, New York, Sep13-Aug14 multi-book average, Mon-Sun 6A-12Mid
  5. The Infinite Dial 2013, Arbitron Inc./Edison Research, Base: Driven/Riden in Car in Last Month, Age 18+
  6. Gfk MRI – MediaDay Doublebase 2013 (Fieldwork 2012-2013/Doublebase Respoondents), weighted to population,
    Base: Adults 25-54; Daypart: 9A-5P
  8. Nielsen Audio, PPM