Radio may never die!

  • A recent nationwide study commissioned by Mad Dog Software* to study the influence of FM radio, showed that out of 1,004 Americans, 78.7% (+/- 2.3%) would not buy a car without an AM/FM radio. Interestingly, even a large majority of youth felt the same way. (Maybe they can not crank up the volume as high with their iPads?) Most people would give up their iPod before they would give up their AM/FM car radio. AM/FM is totally free where Sirius/XM, much like cable TV, makes you pay for 200 channels when you only listen to 3 or 4.

    Bo Wiley, a Ford dealer in Arizona said, “In my 20 years of owning eight new car dealerships, I have never had a customer tell us that they didn’t want an AM/FM radio in their new car." Jason Anderson, a Chrysler/Nissan dealer in the business more than two decades, could not think of a single incident where someone said “No” to AM/FM in their new car.

    Just think of this: There are nearly one billion radios in America. And nearly every one of the 253 million cars on the road today has an AM/FM radio installed. Most people are driving somewhere to make a purchase. And, while they are driving, they are listening to the radio.

    With that in mind, let's take a look at broadcast radio, specifically AM/FM. In its simplest form, it solves the problem of trying to deliver information to millions of people at the same time in a cost-effective way. Each of the 15,000 radio stations in America can be listened to by a million people at the same time. Heck, each station could be listened to by an unlimited number of listeners without ever running out of bandwidth or rebooting. And when was the last time your local radio station went off the air? If you lose power in the house, you can run out to listen to the car radio to hear the latest news and warnings about the hurricane, earthquake or riot that caused the loss of power.

    Radio's longevity has been proven time and time again despite its demise being predicted with the development of the 8-track player, then the cassette, followed by CD, and mp3 players. What’s next to be left in the dust by free broadcast radio?

    The most popular pay channels on Sirius/Xm are free to AM/FM radio listeners. Only your hometown AM/FM stations will give you a variety of music styles, local news and traffic reports, as well as the scores of the Little League games.

    Recently, in Forbes Magazine, “Despite the technological advances that are making the car a digital hub on wheels, the consumer’s love affair with AM/FM radio remains. The numbers of radio listeners are staggering. More Americans listen to AM/FM radio each week than use Facebook. Nearly 60% of the population listens to the radio on a daily basis and nearly 85% of the American people report listening to the radio at least once a week.”

    Is it any wonder that radio advertising is the most effective way for businesses to reach their customers? Here’s some of my thoughts on the subject:

    Radio is easy and it’s free to the listener. A mix of music, sports, local announcements and advertising messages hold the listener's attention.

    Radio offers unlimited programming opportunities.

    Radio is everywhere.

    Radio is personal, delivering what the listener wants to hear.

    Radio is the invited guest of every car buyer.

    Radio is often the last influencer before the point of purchase

    Regionally/Zoned and targeted.

    Think about this: Google emulated the 100 year old radio model of free content for just viewing (listening to) some commercials which are most often informative themselves. Advertisers pay to sponsor the content.

    *1004 Americans surveyed July 2015

1 comment
  • Cyndi Davidson
    Cyndi Davidson I was in the print advertising business with a local newspaper for 8 years and switched to radio about 1 year ago. I love radio and your article is excellent, simple yet profound and for a newbie like me extremely helpful for increasing the why and belief in my medium.  Well written...thank you
    November 20, 2015