Thursday, July 7, 2011

Have you listened to a radio ad lately?


According to the latest Arbitron stats, radio’s reach has increased by 2 million people in the past year and the medium is reaching 74% of the U.S. population over 12. (Sass, 2011)

Additional research suggests that 92% of them stay tuned during commercials. What about you? Are you listening to radio commercials? If so, why? (Adweek, 2006)

Sass, E. (2011, July 5) Arbitron: Radio Ups Reach By 2 Million Listeners. Retrieved July 6, 2011, from

(2006, October 23). Radio Listeners Stay Tuned During Commercials. Adweek p1


  1. I really only listen to the radio when I'm in a car. Because I live in NYC that's pretty limited. However, I definitely check out what's on the radio when I'm out of town and driving. I really dislike radio commercials and will usuallly flip the channel right away. But I notice oftentimes when one station has a commercial on, so does every other station, so I end up sticking it out and listening to the commercials of my preferred station. I also might not change it when I'm alone in the car and need to pay attention to driving vs. switching tunes.

  2. Interesting! I recently had a conversation about it with some friends. I was wondering if it was still effective to spend money on radio commercials to reach a specific target. I was tempted to say that nowadays, facing Internet and other media, the radio was dying... Living in Manhattan, I have forgotten that people DO listen to the radio in their car. I used to do it in France (as well), but as far as I remember, in my car, I wanted to listen to music and not commercials. I might have been part of those who change the station when it's commercials' time. Moreover, I think that cars now are well equiped with CD players and I believe that most people are listening to the music they like rather than radio station.
    I think I was proved to be wrong... Indeed, lot of people are still listening to radio commercials, because it is a good way to win ticket's concert, CD, and so on. So it might not be my cup of tea, but I am sure that some generation love to spend time listening to ONE station and stay tuned even during comercials.

  3. I’m very surprised to read that radio’s reach has increased. I don’t recall regularly listening since at least 1999 or 2000. That was the year I got my first CD Player and it changed my life. I no longer had to suffer through unappealing music or lengthy commercial blocks.

    Aside from the occasional car trip with friends (since I don’t drive) I rarely encounter any radio broadcasts. Maybe I’m spoiled by the short (though equally annoying) commercials placed before some youtube videos, but nowadays, it seems that current radio commercial blocks are unbearably long! As soon as a commercial comes on I try and mess with the dials in order to find a new station with a good song. Keep in mind, this isn’t even my car!

    I wonder if the number of listeners increased due to America’s economic troubles. With more unemployment, foreclosures, and tougher times all around, I suspect many people gave up their pricey satellite radio subscriptions and switched over to regular radio in order to save money.

  4. Sometimes I listen to the radio at work, when I’m in the mood for a specific genre of music and don’t feel like scouting something out on Pandora. However, in this age of getting-what-I-want-when-I-want, I get frustrated with hearing songs I don’t like and being interrupted by commercials. I have no patience for it – if I’m taking the time to seek out a form of entertainment, I want it to provide me with *exactly* the experience I’m looking for. Hearing commercials just ruins the experience for me, and there are 10 other sources I can turn to (instantly) to avoid the commercial & hear the same type of music.
    (Interesting about car listeners – I think they’re in a different mindset & would thus be more receptive to radio commercials)

  5. Marybel Velasco

    Interesting article, As I live in Mexico City I am used to drive for more than 1 hour per day because of the traffic and long distances. At first when I got my car I played all day playlists from my ipod but after sometime and with no more songs to listen to I started listening to more radio than ever, and actually it is really entertainment. After driving 1 hour in traffic with all horns sounding you just want to hear someone talking about news or interesting stuff.

    I think a good radio strategy will work better in suburbs!