Traditional Radio Faces a Grim Future, New Study Says

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Richard Saker/REX/Shutterstock (1399785o)
“On Air” at the Talksport Radio show.
talkSPORT radio studios, London, Britain – 18 May 2011


Originally Published August 30, 2017


UPDATED: A new study published today by the head of New York University’s Steinhart Music Business Program casts a sobering outlook on the future of terrestrial radio. (Not surprisingly, the National Association of Broadcasters and Nielsen responded to the report; see their responses here.)

In the 30-page report, Larry Miller argues that traditional radio has failed to engage with Generation Z — people born after 1995 — and that its influence and relevance will continue to be subsumed by digital services unless it upgrades. Key points made in the study include:

*Generation Z, which is projected to account for 40% of all consumers in the U.S. by 2020, shows little interest in traditional media, including radio, having grown up in an on-demand digital environment;

*AM/FM radio is in the midst of a massive drop-off as a music-discovery tool by younger generations, with self-reported listening to AM/FM radio among teens aged 13 and up declining by almost 50 percentage points between 2005 and 2016. Music discovery as a whole is moving away from AM/FM radio and toward YouTube, Spotify and Pandora, especially among younger listeners, with 19% of a 2017 study of surveyed listeners citing it as a source for keeping up-to-date with music — down from 28% the previous year. Among 12-24 year olds who find music discovery important, AM/FM radio (50%) becomes even less influential, trailing YouTube (80%), Spotify (59%), and Pandora (53%).



  1. Video killed the radio star?
    Perhaps the younger generation doesnt listen to radio but as an avid listener I am sick and tired of PC leftwing program directors ignoring my demographic to try to win listeners that arent interested. I was in my 40s before I started to enjoy radio. I used to watch my dad lie in bed and listen to radio and I didnt get it. As i aged I began to get it!!!!!
    SO TO ALL PROGRAMERS. Stop trying to win an audience that doesnt give a rats ass about radio and start treating your listeners with a lot more respect before you lose them.

  2. I’m sure Mr. Gifford monitors this site. Anyone notice the strange commercial running overnight on ‘NW that offers testimonials from someone in Nanaymo and someone in Pentiketon? You have to wonder how that made it to air. And did the station ever explain how the signal came to be distorted and unusable for around half an hour last week?

  3. Wow, radio is just figuring this out now? Yikes. Radio? You are about 10 years too late. Secondly, news watcher? It’s Penticton! Makes me wonder what kind of “news” you are watching.

  4. 13: People are still lying in bed listening to audio – but increasingly it’s on demand audio like a time shifted radio show or a podcast.

  5. FAKE NEWS is what is destroying Radio.

    Look at a developing story with CKNW……River Rock CHINESE money laundering. ARE YOU KIDDING ME???????

    NOT hardly a mention of billions in CHINESE REAL ESTATE money laundering. And Sikh money laundering. And Iranian money laundering which have all DESTROYED the RE in Greater Vancouver.

    The MSM is DEAD because they take their orders from the Globalists that tell them what do say and when to say it.

    Most news is FAKE NEWS.

  6. If you look at Giffords background you will realize that NW wont change until he leaves. The guy a product of a good SJW education from the US midwest. Not sure how he got the job at NW for a couple of reasons, one he is an American and it is kind out of place for him to be programming a Canadian news outlet and secondly if you look at his background he has more experience in the Sports Radio and TV sector so you would think he would be programming one of the many sports stations in town rather than NW.

  7. Mark
    I believe he is a cost cutting import. Im certain that the in house talent is being stretched to the limit. Tim Dickers works non stop . The big 5, therapy Tuesday, the big finish , reah brings the news, winners and losers, . Thankfully McComb seems to have dumped the childish labels. All the segments are still in the same order but they just flow instead of the tech report followed by the followed by the……The buzz line that gives listeners the impression that its still talk radio. NOT a chance. Putting an end to the comments on NWs home page. All cost cutting. Dumping seasoned veteran news readers Bell and Mark for a bunch that sound like they just got out of high school never mind BCIT. Ditching the sports department. Pathetic.
    I suppose that Gifford is just following orers from Corus/Shaw. Talk about a bunch of cheapskates.

  8. Apparently, this thread is a rant against CKNW. With all the “talent” and “experts” on this site, one has to wonder why some of them haven’t taken their talent to a competing radio station and developed compelling and interesting programming to put CKNW out of business. Just wondering.

  9. Oh brother, I could not agree more. What started as a simple thread regarding culture change and the future of radio? Turned into a bashing of one particular radio station. These so called “experts” give the daily dose of how CKNW should be doing things better. Just ask Les H? He knows everything and how this world should be run. To busy taking his colorful pills me thinks. I have often thought he should get a sleeping pill and lay down for a while and give it a rest. Alas, what do I know? Excellent point oh brother, excellent point.

  10. ‘turned into a bashing of one radio station’. YUP. It is because we care enough to want CKNW to succeed. It is morphing into a CBC-lite, giving us no real info or balance, just the same old fake news and 98% consensus and Government Must Fix Everything.

    It has totally driven me to TSN 1040, except even they are doing the Social Justice peacocking and wondering if Sidney Crosby knows that he is validating Trumps policies by appearing at the White House. This passes for news? Sports news? Yuk. On top of that, having lost the Canucks broadcast, I need to slide over to 650. As much as I liked Scotty on 1040, he is boring as crap on 650.

    To be honest, about the only radio (for me) worth listening is The Moz and the boys for CFL broadcasts on TSN 1040. That is about the only radio show that is not pozzed.

  11. Oh brother
    You’re dead right that we’re (or at least I am) not experts. My day starts early am 2-3am and goes until 5-6pm. Those hours are spent behind a steering wheel with my radio usually tuned to 980 am 96.5 fm and it times of pure desperation 88.1 fm. I’ve been listening to talk radio since I started driving truck in the early 70s. Over the years I’ve had the good fortune to have heard some of the best radio ever produced. IMHO the best was NW. While today’s NW is still listenable it’s not a lock on the dial as it once was. One of the trucks I owned the face plate on the radio went missing but it didn’t matter because I never changed the dial.
    So I might not be an expert, but I’ve listened to the best and worst of NW. Frosty, Rafe, Good, Webster, Mcrae, Berner, Faux, Thompson, Bell , Mark , Till and McComb in the pm drive slot, Green, Bennett, and many more that I can’t remember names make up the best list.
    Im not going to list the worst but suffice it to say the worst list started when Shaw /Corus took control.

  12. Heard two different different newsreaders on NW refer to Karen Magnussen as Karen Mag-NEW-son. C’mon. Get a grip News Director and get some experienced talent who at least know how to correctly pronounce the name of a local icon. You get what you pay for.


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