The Power of Radio

TV was gold for decades, surpassing radio in both consumption and advertising. But those days are gone. The needle on the dial is moving toward audio. And that may prove immensely beneficial for marketers. Let’s delve in. 

Radio Reach

Radio is holding strong and has surpassed TV viewership. This has a lot to do with audio streaming options. According to a recent Nielsen poll, “Radio reaches more Americans each week than any other platform.”  Of adults 18 and over, 92% listen to radio weekly, while 87% watch TV.  

Furthermore, radio has a highly diverse listening audience with the strongest age demographic ranging from 18-49, when compared to TV. The monthly reach for these listeners is 132.4 million, equivalent to 98% of the population. Additional research (June 2023) shows that radio reaches 87.2 percent of American men between the ages of 35 and 64. 

These broad ranges in age groups afford marketers a diverse pool of potential consumers. 

What Happened to TV

As television took hold in America, radio was predominately listened to away from home, in the car. Commuting was typically shorter and listening time was limited. However, the rise of online digital radio services has changed that. Now, Americans are streaming radio anytime, anywhere. That includes working out, running errands and especially while at work. That is another 8-plus hours a day of potential listening time—at least! 

Meanwhile, the audience for terrestrial (traditional AM/FM) radio has remained vast and consistent over the past few years. Weekly listenership dropped during Covid, from 89% in 2019 to 83% in 2020, but it has since been stable. In 2022, 82% of Americans ages 12 and older listened to terrestrial radio in a given week. This reveals the generational commitment to radio across the country.  

If you are looking for long-term, multi-generation consumers, radio is the way to go.

Trust in Radio

A survey compiled in February 2022 examining trust in the accuracy of news revealed that radio was considered the most trustworthy place to get news. Approximately 64 percent of Americans surveyed conveyed their trust in radio news over other sources, particularly social media.  

Moreover, Nielsen listed news/talk programming among the most-listened-to radio formats in the country. Whereas news used to be experienced predominately on TV, now more Americans are listening to news radio. According to Statista, NPR was runner-up only to the wildly popular iHeartRadio. In both traditional radio and the digital realm, NPR stations have solidified their role as a leader with a loyal following. 

Digital Radio Expands Audience

The 21st Century has seen the rise of digital radio. As a result, radio’s reach has increased.  Individuals now listen more often because access is multi-dimensional. Phones, iPads, and laptops, all provide instant access to audio streaming services from anywhere you have connectivity.  

Whereas radio has previously been associated predominately with music, that is changing. Perhaps NPR’s commitment to education and civic duty has inspired a generation to embrace and even expect more informative programming. Podcasts are growing exponentially. Intellectual stimulation has become a priority in day-to-day life and listeners are finding it in digital media. 

Listeners want to be “in the know” so that they can make the best possible choices. 

Digital radio is expected to have continued growth in future generations. Marketing strategies may see less TV advertising expenditures and stronger radio strategies. 

Radio, Still Connecting

Radio is still the primary connector for consumers who are out and about, ready to shop and buy. This offers a significant opportunity for marketers and advertisers to deliver their brand messages just before a potential point of purchase.  

Radio’s continued success and resiliency are due in part to the select space it occupies in the automobile. It’s free, ever-present, and at the fingertips of virtually every consumer on the road today.  

No matter the format, radio—traditional or digital, is reaching Americans. From NPR to podcasts, people are listening. If you’re a marketer, we encourage you to lean into audio media.  

Market Enginuity is here to help get your brand in front of NPR audiences across the nation. In addition, our sister organization Soundrise, has thousands of podcasts to reach your preferred target audience. 

Ultimately, radio advertising is more cost-effective than TV. Catch next week’s blog to learn more about how the two compare. You may be pleasantly surprised. It’s going to be a good one! 

Let’s Work Together

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