AM/FM Radio: Audio Dominance in a Mobile World

October 29, 2017

In the decade since the iPhone debuted, the world has been transformed by mobile devices. Despite this ubiquitous adoption of smartphones, AM/FM radio sustains its overall dominance in the audio space.

What makes AM/FM radio’s continued strength in a mobile age possible? In a single word: Employment.

Each month, adults in the U.S. (18+) consume 700 BILLION more minutes of AM/FM radio than pure-play streams. That’s an advantage of 50 BILLION quarter hours, based on national audience data from Nielsen Audio’s Comparative Metrics Report, Q1 2017.

Everyone in radio can recite statistics about reach, but that’s only part of the story. The ongoing power of radio rests with our employed audience, which consumes enormous amounts of AM/FM radio in the car and at-work. Best of all for advertisers, this audience has money to spend.

When economic headlines mention 5% unemployment rate, the obvious assumption is that 95% of adults are working. By extension, this same logic would indicate that every advertising platform is equally effective at reaching these most sought after consumers. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that is simply not the case. 40% of U.S. adults are out of the workforce. That means 150 million Americans work (60%) and 100 million American adults do not.

Heavy listeners of radio are overwhelmingly employed with 85% of consumption among A25-54 being driven by people with jobs. Even on the younger end, among P18-24, approximately 63% of listening across markets and major formats is driven by employed persons.

The reason for this difference in listening isn’t due to smart phones or overly simplified theories about listening habits of millennials, who are already the largest generation in the workforce. It is because P18-24 are always less employed than their older counterparts. Decade after decade, this younger demographic has never been the driving force behind radio listening.

As station programming super-serves its employed audience, radio sellers need a more compelling story, not just to win ad dollars from other radio stations, but more importantly away from local TV and print.

The employment angle is compelling, not simply because it’s a long held programming fundamental, but because these are the consumers who advertisers want to target and reach, people with a paycheck and money to spend.

As recent natural disasters remind us, radio stations take their unique public service mandate seriously.  A similar public interest obligation can be brought to life by the sales team in terms of radio’s ongoing impact on the local economy. By putting advertisers in direct contact with employed persons, radio’s ability to deliver ROI and help businesses grow, which leads to job creation (and more listening) is enormous.

We recently discussed these employment and consumption insights with Erica Farber, President and CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau on the Radio on Main Street Podcast.

We’ve also made a slide deck available to bring these points to life and empower radio groups and local stations as they advocate AM/FM radio’s position of strength in a mobile world .

Whatever challenges might await radio in the future, let’s not take our eyes off the prize now. 700 BILLION minutes and an employed audience are two huge chips that radio needs to keep cashing in.

Let’s discuss how your station marketing can ensure you Win the Commute and Own the Workday in 2018. Send us an email or call 859-957-1581.

On behalf of Catherine Jung, Doug Smith and everyone at DMR/Interactive, thanks for reading and working to drive radio forward.

Andrew Curran, President and COO

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Employment: The Key to Unlocking Your Online Strategy

October 1, 2017

There are 2.8 million apps available for download and the average person interacts with their smartphone more than 1,000 times per week.

Despite unlimited access and an infinite choice of options, most interactions with the phone involve just two or three apps, with text messaging and Facebook dominating mobile usage.

In addition, nearly 60% of all Google searches are now done on mobile devices. Looking at the most popular searches offers additional insights into what people do with their phones besides catching up with friends.

While it is important that your brand and your website have strong Search Engine Optimization performance, not a lot of traffic is generated by people searching for local media.

What are they using search for? Primarily, it’s based on learning and discovery.

Google just released a list of the most popular “How To” keyword searches. On the surface, the top results are random and inconclusive. 

  1. How to tie a tie
  2. How to kiss
  3. How to get pregnant
  4. How to lose weight
  5. How to draw
  6. How to make money
  7. How to make pancakes
  8. How to write a cover letter
  9. How to make French toast
  10. How to lose belly fat
  11. How to write a resume

Now consider the fundamentals of radio listening. It’s driven by employment, which empowers drive time and at-work consumption.

With that in mind, let’s look again at #1, #6, #8, #11. They all connect with work.

1. How to tie a tie
6. How to make money
8. How to write a cover letter
11. How to write a resume

As you look at creating compelling online content, how much (if any) currently ties back into what people are naturally searching for along with the added benefit of connecting to the #1 driver of radio consumption… employment.

Even # 4, #10, #7, and #9 can easily be viewed through an employment lens.

4. How to lose weight
10. How to lose belly fat
7. How to make pancakes
9. How to make French toast

#4 and #10 connect with self-confidence, which is certainly a valuable attribute in a job search as well as when you are in pursuit of your next promotion or are just going through another 40 hour week.

Meanwhile, when it comes to getting out the door on time and still enjoying the most important meal of the day (#7 and #9), what about sharing life hacks for making breakfast?

Last but not least, radio is always looking for ways to connect and engage with younger audiences. Some tasteful creativity involving #2 and #3 (kissing and getting pregnant) would generate compelling station content and drive engagement.

It all starts with a deep understanding of your audience and the fact that 85% or more of your listening is generated by employed persons who turn on your station in the car and at-work.

Let’s use radio’s talent and creativity to generate digital content that people will more readily discover and share because it reflects the topics they are already searching for.

When your brand is top of mind with the employed listeners who matter most, it allows you to win more listening occasions and drive your ratings and revenue.

Let’s discuss how your digital content can drive listening and ratings. Send us an email or call 859-957-1581.

On behalf of Catherine Jung, Doug Smith and everyone at DMR/Interactive, thanks for reading and working to drive radio forward.

Andrew Curran, President and COO