Radio Advertising Still Relevant in Today’s Age of Digital – Part 2

More than 90 years after its introduction as a commercial medium, radio is still known for its broad reach. To this day, approximately 92% of consumers age 12 years or older listen to radio each week. Radio is unique in its ability to reach consumers on-air, on-site and on-demand – – whether they are at home, at work or in their car.

Like the rest of the media world, radio is experiencing unprecedented change at warp speeds, and the dollars that are shifting to new platforms are not going to return to traditional media. The Radio Advertising Bureau in February reported total 2012 revenues (including over-the-air and digital) totaled $16.5 billion a 1% increase over 2011.  Digital accounted for $767 million (8%) of the radio industry’s total revenue.  A report from BIA/Kelsey indicates radio station’s revenue mix will continue to shift and income from online advertising is expected to rise at a rate of 10.8% annually over the next five years versus 2.5% for over-the-air.

In January/February 2013, Arbitron and Edison Research conducted a national survey providing estimates of emerging digital platforms and their impact on the on the media landscape. Here are a few key headlines pertaining to radio from the study:

  • “Online Radio continues its growth trajectory reaching new highs for weekly usage.”
  • “During the same span of time, AM/FM Radio has grown to 243 million weekly listeners.”

  • “AM/FM Radio rules the road with far more frequent users than all other in-car audio options.”

A key observation from the study is that “media consumption is not a zero sum game. Digital platforms do not replace media usage… they enhance it.” Radio’s accessibility continues to expand. The various audio distribution platforms such as streaming, satellite radio and MP3 keep radio relevant in today’s world of time-starved consumers. This is evident as the vast majority of online radio listeners also listen to over-the-air radio. According to the study 82% of weekly online radio listeners also listened to over-the-air AM/FM radio.

From a media planning standpoint, radio is still capable of delivering a broad audience. It’s targetable by demo, lifestyle, and geography and content. New digital capabilities offer interactive opportunities to complement and enhance a broadcast radio campaign by reaching consumers at multiple touch points.

Alan May
Just Media, Inc. 

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