Best of the Sachs Report: Wherefore Art Thou Radio?

Reviewing prime radio listening age demographics and statistics

Editor’s Note: Ed Sachs has stepped away from writing the Sachs Report, but for the next couple of weeks, we’re going to be running “best of” editions in this space; a new newsletter will be launching soon in its place. In this column, from late last year, Ed looks at the future of car radios:

T’was the night before Christmas and all through the house, we were listening to Christmas music on Pandora through our DVD player and TV sound system. Wow, how times have changed!

T’was not so long ago I lamented the CD mechanism in car stereo head units. (Why do we only use T’was in December? I love T’was, don’t you?) As I said, you can stop worrying about the CD mechanism in new cars and aftermarket sales in five years, but do not leave out radio. To back up that strong suggestion, here are some interesting numbers from Edison Research that manufacturers should know.

For practical reasons, unless otherwise pointed out, the age group we refer to here are 12 to 24 year olds. In 2000, 29 percent of that demographic had a cell phone and now in 2010, it’s up to 81 percent, with 40 percent of those being smartphones. Mostly they text (92 percent), search the Internet (51 percent), play games (50 percent) or use the device for social networking (45 percent). But important to note: 40 percent of this group use the device to listen to music.

How this group spends their free time is also interesting. In 2000, they spent 2.5 hours watching TV, 2.5 hours listening to radio and one hour on the Internet. In 2010, they spent 2.5 hours watching TV, only 1.3 hours listening to radio and now dedicate an hour a day to playing video games.

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