Radio: Much Maligned, but Still With the Greatest Reach


You wouldn’t know it from all the media coverage focused on streaming video and streaming music, but recent Nielsen data shows radio actually has the most reach among American media consumers. 93% of adults listen to the radio each week as compared to 87% who watch TV, a substantive difference.


by Doug Schoen Contributor to the Wall Street Journal.

In terms of the American population, this means that 243 million people over the age of 12 are listening to old-fashioned broadcast AM/FM radio every week. It may all come down to the fact that as long as we have cars, we’ll be listening to the radio. And since I can’t see a time coming when that won’t be the case, it’s quite clear that radio – and its tremendous reach – is here to stay.

Americans are a completely captive audience during this time. Sure, they can switch the station or even turn it off, but we all know that more often than not there’s some programming on in the background, even during conversations.

It follows that a new survey demonstrates how effective radio can be at converting awareness into sales in specific circumstances.

Earlier this month, Amazon held its first global sale event called Amazon Prime Prime Day. Afterwards, Cumulus/Westwood One commissioned an IPSOS study to determine how effective radio, TV and online advertising were at driving purchases. The results may surprise you as much as they surprised me:

Of those exposed to radio ads, 52% made a purchase. That compares with 48% of people who saw ads online and 39% who saw TV ads. (The online study surveyed 1,005 Americans July 17 to July 20, 2015, via the IPSOS U.S. eNation service.)



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