Thursday, October 27, 2011

Did you listen to a radio ad last week? Me too.


I have often said that radio deserves more respect than it gets from advertisers who are embracing new technologies at the expense of those that have stood the test of time. 
Now comes word that radio has added an additional 1.7 million listeners in the past year.  That means that 93% of the U.S. 12 and up population is tuning in on an average week.  Furthermore, the growth is attributed to younger people, with 12-17 year old listeners up 36% and 18-34 year-olds up 80%.  Radio’s diversity is increasing as well, and the medium is now reaching 93% of African-Americans and 95% of Hispanics. (Loechner, 2011)

So that begs the question, are you a listener?  Have you thought about using radio to reach teens before?  Will you now?

Loechner, J. (2011, October 21)  Anybody Listening?  Retrieved October 26, 2011, from


  1. I am one of the few people I know that listens to the radio while in the car. I have heard several radio ads in the past week. Radio ads are a much harder sell because obviously there is no visual. As for reaching teens, I'm not sure how well the radio would do outside of fashion or concert tix. Young professionals, and small business owners however are the perfect target to reach with radio ads.

  2. While in the car I listen to NPR, 1010 Wins for the latest news and traffic, Saturdays while in the car I'll listen to Car Talk. This is probably because of the demopraphic group I'm in. These are shows with little or no advertisements. The 12 - 17 year olds are listening to 95.5 and the like for the top 40 music and the concert tickets they could win. This group is listening to the adverisements.
    The African-American and Hispanic market are a wise group. Radio advertisements are a way to communicate to this market of people who like radio.
    Susan D

  3. Personally, I never listen to the radio simply because I don't have the chance. I use to listen to it in the car on my way to school or whenever I was driving but now I don't drive. However, depending on the geographic location of the teenager, I think radio could be a great new outlet to start reaching them. For instance, everyone drives or rides in cars in Michigan especially if you're a teenager. You go back and forth to school, to the mall or movies and usually the radio is blasting (that was the case with my friends at least). For teens in New York, usually the subway or taxis are the main provider of transportation and taxis now just have those news TVs and no radio. As a result, I think in more rural areas radio advertising would be more effective on teenagers.

  4. When I am at home I am always listening to the radio. I prefer studying or reading with sound on the background.

    I was surprised with these rates and I am almost sure that the advertisers and also the agencies are not giving attention for this "old" media. For young consumers they focus much more on online advertisements.

  5. Marconi would be very proud to have read this bog post! Who would have thought that with all of the new, emerging media and technology that radio is still alive, well and growing ever steadily? Heck, wasn’t there a popular song way back in the 1980s that went “video killed the radio star”? I would be interested to know, which sort of radio broadcasts are so appealing to the younger demographic. I listen to the radio, when I can. When I was not a resident of this city, commuting above the Earth, I listened a lot more. Mostly I listened to talk radio. I’m sort of an NPR nerd. I also enjoyed Howard Stern. And at one point I felt that satellite radio was the best thing since sliced bread. I don’t know, I guess I very much appreciate the fact that kids still dig radio.

  6. Like Josh, I listen to radio in the car. I think radio ads are so much more insidious than television ones because the lack of visual sort of reduces them to background noise that with enough repetition, the listener still absorbs. And of course, you can't DVR your way through the radio commercial break, and it seems as though the popular radio stations coordinate their ads to play at the same time.
    That said, they just don't leave the same impression on me because so many seem to be poorly done and obviously low-budget. There's also the idea that many of these ads are for local businesses around the specific areas covered by the station in question. In this case, I can see the ads being helpful to small businesses.
    But it doesn't seem likely that 12-17 year olds will be in the market for anything advertised on the radio other than concert tickets (I'm also going off on my own experience when I was that age). And again, even though I talk about the almost subconscious absorption of radio messages in my first paragraph, that does not mean that awareness will lead to action. For example, just because I know the damn "Cars for Kids" jingle by heart, does not mean I can or will contribute.
    -Anya Bochman

  7. Eugenia Diez TargiseNovember 1, 2011 at 3:16 PM

    I used to listen to the radio every day sports back home going back and forth to work and every weekend when traveling to campus to play sports. I enjoyed a lot the talk radios. At work we really paid so much attention to radio as a way of advertising because in Argentina is a really popular media. Especially for people who drive, which are a huge number, the radio is a way of entertainment and to update on the news. Since I moved to NY I don’t listen to the radio anymore, and I am really surprised by this post because I thought that nobody in the US do it. I thought it was a really obsolete mean of communication. I am glad to learn that radio is still growing in audience in the US as well.

  8. Like Eugenia I'm from South America and back there I used to listen to the radio A LOT, like everybody does it for entertainment while driving or even when there's a group of friends chillin in a house... there's always the radio on, and advertising plays a huge role in it, we actually listened the ads, the brands advertising in a specific station have to match the mood so it's part of the package.
    Since I moved to NY I don't drive and I don't get in a car often, but when we do is for traveling so we listen to jazz music or the ipod...
    I'm surprised about these numbers, maybe it's because I'm used to NY, but I think (as someone else here said) that in the rural areas and even at the beach people are more likely to listen to the radio because they can hear about everything; what's on, what's the next party, who's coming to the city or whatever.
    In general I think radio is one of the most effective media if it's done wisely, because the ads lines or jingles can stick to people's mind and develop this association with a certain brand.

  9. I can say that I am a radio listener. I only listen to the radio though when I'm in my car, which isn't usually a long amount of time but it is every day. With that being said I do hear the radio advertisements but I really can't recall any besides a lasik eye surgery one.

    I am very diverse in my radio selection from 100.3 to 104.3 to 105.1 to 1010Winds and no matter which station I am on, when the ads come on I normally switch to listening to my ipod. This works for me becuase normally for most stations it is the same block of time that is dedicated to the radio ads so I know that the ads will be running for a chunk of time.

    I would think that it would be more beneficial if the ads were inter-woven throughout the segments of the days and inbetween songs because they would reach more ears.

    I do think it could be effective though to reach teens through radio advertisements if placed properly. Such as right after school and on Friday and Saturday nights. More specifically, it could be effective reaching teens ages 14-19 that do not live in urban areas.

  10. Instead of setting the alarm on my phone and having to wake up to the same annoying tone every morning, I use the alarm on my radio. So every morning at 9, I wake up to 92.3. Considering this, I think radio is an excellent way to reach teens and young adults. Every radio station has a pretty specific target. This makes targeting your target audience much easier then with other mediums that have less specific targets. Another major factor that proves radio is useful is that radio stations only reach a specific geographical location. Therefore, if you're trying to reach consumers in New York City, you can easily accomplish this using radio stations who broadcast in the New York Metropolitan area. There are also a lot of niche radio stations and programs which can also prove useful for advertisers.

  11. Yes, I'm a daily radio listener.

    Radio advertising doesn't work for all products. Knowing your target market, and demographics, is extremely important. Teens must be able to identify w/ your insight. Teens are very emotional, and easy to persuade. If funds are available, let commercials, show and tell your product.


  12. Though I drive often and listen primarily to the radio when driving, the issue is that I try to avoid commercials at all costs and end up changing the station as soon as they go to commercials. Even when I do listen to the ads, I couldn't tell you about one ad I've heard even yesterday. Without the visuals, you don't tend to remember them as easily.

  13. My current radio listening habits have been reduced to 1010 WINS and Sirius Radio when I'm in the car, that's it. As soon as commercial or anything resembling one does come on, it's instinctive to change the channel and find more talk or music. There are so many other mediums that I "listen" to that I rarely consider tuning in to the radio. However, when I was in middle school and high school, that's all I would listen to was the radio. Being that I have never thought of advertising on the radio to teens, the numbers support it and warrant consideration depending on the product being sold.

    Ben K.

  14. I would say I am a frequent radio listener, not every day but definitely multiple times during the week. Like Gavin I tend to tune out or switch stations when I hear a long chunk of advertisements coming on. I think the best advertisements (best being the one's I actually listen to) are the ones that are short breaks in between songs or the ones mentioned by the radio hosts themselves. I think radio is a great medium to connect with teens and young adults. As other people have mentioned, you can target a very specific audience and therefore you can reach out to solely your target market without having to waste money or energy on people who are not in your target.