The paradox of Radio as the leading Broadcast platform in the 21st Century
In 1981, the technology that we take for granted today was in its infancy. The first music video ever play was “Video Killed the Radio Star” and that seemed to be a prediction of what was to come. With broadcast technology growing by leaps and bounds during that time period those who had typically turned to their radio for news and entertainment, turned instead to their television. With the rise of the internet, people turned instead to their computers for news and entertainment, but now it seems that we’ve come full circle and radio is on the rise again.
Although the selection of media options is increasing continuously, 93% of Americans over the age of 12 are reached by radio each week. With a total listening audience of more than 241 million, that is an astounding number of people being reached by radio. Those numbers aren’t so surprising when you think about where they are listening however. In a society that is always on the go, more people being reached while they are driving. A study by Arbitron (now Nielsen Audio) showed that 96% of all people who had ridden in a car in the past month had used the radio. The average person spends more time in the car than they did just a year ago and in car listening averages just over 2 hours per day. Since 43% of all people say that they keep their car radio tuned to one station, a message or advertisement played just twice a day still reaches a vast number of listeners.
The size of the radio audience continues to grow, not only in vehicles, but at work as well. When is the last time you visited a store and there wasn’t a radio playing in the background?
It isn’t just Americans who are listening. In a study conducted by the Radio Advertising Bureau of the U.K., it was concluded people were happier while listening to traditional radio than while either surfing the net or watching TV. Using smartphones, 1,000 Britons responded to questions concerning media consumption and corresponding emotional responses during various times throughout the day. Participants reported “peaks and troughs” during online media and TV consumption.
Radio is a uniquely user-friendly medium that gives advertisers the flexibility, speed, and immediacy that is needed to compete in an extremely competitive and increasingly cluttered marketplace. While radio isn’t likely to replace any of the other broadcasting platforms available, it is increasingly becoming a viable platform to reach a significant percentage of the population. Whether it is advertising or simply conveying a message, radio is not just a thing of the past, it is a thing of the future.