Why radio refuses to die
In fact, a new study says it's thriving -- even among teens and 20-somethings. 'Hyper-locality' and community connections are among the reasons.
Remember that song "Video Killed the Radio Star," the first tune aired on MTV in the 1980s? It seems media experts have been predicting radio's demise ever since the first sound movies came out in the 1920s. But in an age of online streaming and digital media, radio not only endures but appears to be thriving, including among a surprising demographic: teens to mid-20-year-olds.
A new study, commissioned by Clear Channel (CCO), found 92% of all respondents to a 1,000-person online survey said they listened to radio at least once a week. You might think the radio giant injected its own bias into the study, but a Clear Channel spokesperson says all the people surveyed, men and women ages 13 to 54, were recruited randomly by a third party and not aware Clear Channel was involved in the research.
While radio has long had a strong consumer base among older Americans, especially with AM talk shows, the study says it still has a hold on younger generations. The survey found 94% of all 13-to-17-year-olds, as well as 89% of respondents ages 18 to 24, say they tune in to radio weekly.
Some other interesting factoids from the study, conducted by Latitude Research and OpenMind Strategy:
71% said radio is a part of their daily routine.
69% agreed that "streaming services do not replace radio."
78% agreed radio "has the power to make a difference in the community," while 72% felt radio is more community-oriented than TV.
One of the biggest factors radio has in its favor is accessibility. Its portable and one-on-one nature make it unique among communication media. Of course, car radios are a huge part of that equation. About half of American radio consumers listen in their cars. And among the survey respondents, 82% said the first thing they do when they get into a car is turn on the radio.
Radio's portability and mobility make it popular with younger listeners, who access it across a variety of media platforms, including online streaming.
"A lot of radio stations have put apps on smartphones. They've been doing live streaming forever," Janet Kolodzy, a professor of journalism at Emerson College tells MSN Money. "So it makes . . . sense that young people will look for music via mobile, via what's out there -- which is radio."
Kolodzy says the new technologies are helping radio stations find audiences that are no longer tied to specific geographic areas, which is also strengthening radio's brand as it expands both nationally and globally.
While large, centralized corporations like Clear Channel control a lot of radio, Kolodzy says many of her students are attracted to radio by what she calls its "hyper-locality," especially when it comes to getting local news, music, sports and cultural information.
"What's made radio long-lasting, she says, "is everything from sponsoring concerts to doing live broadcasts in communities, to having ticket giveaways and contests. Those are the things that create a community and a community buy-in with the station. So radio has a sense of that we owe something to the community, and the community will buy in to us, if we continually connect with the community."
I still listen to the radio in the car and late at night. It's free, no taxes, and I can tune to whatever I want. But nothing beats free in these days when everyone is beating us out of every dime we have.
Bright antennae bristle with the energy
Emotional feedback on timeless wavelength
Bearing a gift beyond price, almost free
All this machinery making modern music
Can still be open hearted
Not so coldly charted
It's really just a question of your honesty, yeah
One likes to believe in the freedom of music
But glittering prizes and endless compromises
Shatter the illusion of integrity... Rush - Spirit of Radio
The explosion of Political talk and ESPN's butchering of sports talk has eroded the credibility of Talk Radio. Copycat music artists that literally have little to zero original music of their own has eroded the rest.
NPR daily. The beg messages get a little out of hand, that's for sure. But commerical radio, with its incredible larding of really grotesque commercials, is unacceptable as anything other than an alternative to waterboarding.
When I bought my last car, the AM/FM radio was an option; one that I chose not to install.
Like the ashtray, radio is going away.
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