Radio...Alive and Kicking! Radio Then...Radio Now

We still can’t get through the day without the Radio. 

 

It’s true.  Even in 2010, with new entertainment choices appearing daily, listening to the Radio remains a habitual part of our daily routine.

 

According to Arbitron, a staggering 95.3% of New Yorkers listen to the Radio in an average week.  And on an average day, the Radio medium reaches nearly 7 out of every 10 (69.8%) Persons 6+ in the New York metro (Arbitron PPM, New York metro, Monday-Sunday 6am-Midnight, Persons 6+, June 2010) .

 

We may listen to it differently than we did when we were younger.  For example, today you probably listened to the car Radio driving to work, but you also may have listened on-line while you were in the office.  At home last night, perhaps you listened while spending some time on your favorite station’s website.   Maybe you listened to a Radio ap on your phone or tuned in on your iPod.

Those choices didn’t exist 40 years ago.  But because Radio has continually re-invented itself and remained relevant, the medium is reaching the same percentage of Americans today as Radio was reaching in 1970.  You read that right.  Radio is reaching the same percentage of Americans today as the medium was reaching in 1970. 

 

How can that be?  We’ve witnessed the decline of newspaper readership and the erosion in network TV viewing.  How can a “traditional” medium like Radio still thrive when others are declining?  We’ll get to the data in a moment, but to put it into context, let’s consider how life has changed since 1970.
 

Out  
Brady Bunch                   

One land line per family Vacation                    

Ten-minute drive 

Snail Mail  

In                             
Two-income families

Cell phones for all (adults and kids)

Constantly connected by Blackberries, smartphones

Two-hour commute

Social Networks

 

Out
Albums 

3 TV Networks     
Printed Newspapers  Event TV                                   

In                                       
iPods

500 channels
24-hour on-demand access to news Watch what you want when you want to watch it

 

 

How can that be?  We’ve witnessed the decline of newspaper readership and the erosion in network TV viewing.  How can a “traditional” medium like Radio still thrive when others are declining?  We’ll get to the data in a moment, but to put it into context, let’s consider how life has changed since 1970. You get the picture.  The world has changed and the pace of change is only getting faster.

 

But here is something that hasn’t changed.

 

According to RADAR, 92.7% of the U.S. population (Persons 12+) tuned to Radio in an average week in 2009.   That number alone is a massive one, but perhaps the bigger story is the fact that Radio’s reach in 2009 was identical to Radio’s weekly reach in 1970 (92.7%)!   We’ve all heard the skeptics, suggesting that Radio is “old-fashioned” or “outdated.”   Yet, our reach levels remain where they were when we had a half dozen TV channels and an album collection to keep us entertained.

 

 

 

How about Radio’s daily reach?  Radio’s weekday reach is also almost the same as it was in 1970.  Forty years later, and the same percentage of listeners are tuning to Radio on a typical weekday.

How has Radio been able to maintain its massive reach at a time when we have so many more choices?

 

Radio’s secret sauce has always been that personal, emotional connection between the station… its personalities, its content… and its listeners.  No other medium can duplicate it.  No technology can replace it.  It’s what has sold product and made phones ring for advertisers going back to the earliest days of Radio.  

 

Smart broadcasters have used new technologies to enhance that relationship between the station and its listeners.  Driving listeners to the station website creates an even greater intimacy between listener and station.  Listeners can listen on demand to features or interviews they missed live.   They can take listener polls.   They can listen to the station on their computer, and listen to the station on their smartphones. 

 

Radio is alive and kicking.  It remains a powerful, local entertainment outlet and it is reinventing itself daily.   Go tell it to the world!  Don’t fall into the trap of taking our 92.7% reach for granted.  It is a staggering number that everyone in our industry, and every advertiser should be reminded of.  Let’s make sure the world knows that, in 2010, almost everyone STILL listens to the Radio!