Broadcast radio continues to dominate the medium of audio. Although podcasting is growing, broadcast radio still maintains a disproportionately high percentage of market share.
A recent “Share of Ear” report claims that on a typical day, at least 90% of Americans listen only to AM/FM radio, which accounts for about 75% of the total share of ad-supported audio time. Compare that to podcasting, which while growing exponentially, still only reaches about 14% of the listening audience. While it’s true that more of that broadcast radio time is coming from streaming audio, with a record-high 16% of total AM/FM listening among persons 25-54 during Q2 2022 coming from streaming, it’s still broadcast radio.
What is it about broadcast radio that keeps its audience coming back for more? There are several theories extant, but iHeartMedia Chairman/CEO Bob Pittman sums it up as the “accessibility, companionship, and discovery that radio uniquely offers that other mediums simply can’t replicate.” I would add a fourth factor, which is cost effectiveness.
Radio is a no-cost medium and is available pretty much anywhere. On the go in your car, at home on a smart speaker, or even in your hand on a smartphone, there’s not too many places radio doesn’t go.
Given the one-on-one relationship the radio personality portrays to their audience, radio has a very intimate feel to it. The same has been claimed as a draw for podcasts. No matter what activity you’re doing—or none—radio can come along with you. In addition, radio became a top source of news during the pandemic, showing the deep trust people have in radio personalities.
Pittman states that several studies have noted that radio is the top source for music discovery, with streaming services acting in a “complementary” fashion to broadcast radio. You find it on broadcast radio and then you add it to your playlist.
According to another iHeart study, broadcast radio delivers the most efficient reach for the lowest CPMs, with ranges between $4 and $8. Mobile video and cable or broadcast television come in much higher. A recent study out of the UK determined that exposure to radio campaigns drove ad awareness up 49%, brand relevance 24%, and brand trust 32%. In addition, radio listening pushed brand consideration up 18%, online search 21%, and accessing the brand's website 19%.
A well-planned radio campaign can be the answer to reaching your audience in a cost-effective way. When you’re planning your advertising budget, don’t forget to consider broadcast radio in the mix.
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