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Wherefore Art Thou Radio?

Reviewing prime radio listening age demographics and statistics

December 22, 2010 By Ed Sachs
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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.

When asked where they learn about new music, 51 percent said they found new music on the radio and 46 percent said their exposure to new tunes comes from friends.

They are obviously no longer purchasing CDs, as the 11 purchases a month in 2000 has now dropped to less than three per month. Downloading music has gone from 31 percent in 2000 to over 65 percent in 2010.

Almost half of this group (49 percent) isn't listening to music on the radio in the morning on their way to work. In the 22 to 34 age demographic, 35 percent reported that the radio isn't part of their music listening habits in the morning. The two groups were within five perccentage points of each other with respect to either watching TV or looking to the Internet for morning entertainment.

Significant to note was that 41 percent of the younger demographic (12 to 24 year olds) listens to radio while 53 percent of the 22 to 34 year olds said they tune in to radio.
The research also found that the younger group has moved away from AM/FM radio simply because there was either too many commercials or too much talk and not enough music. Approximately 36 percent said that radio does not even play the kind of music they like. If this isn't great news for satellite radio and HD Radio, I don't know what is. But this group may not have the money to afford satellite radio and only 32 percent have even heard of HD Radio. A greater number have heard of Pandora, however.
 

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COMMENTS

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Most Recent Comments:
Keith Austin - Posted on February 15, 2011
So what is radio listenership like overall compared to a few years ago? Five years ago? Ten years ago?

The highest concentration of listeners in my radio market are all Men 18-24 and Females 18-24.

How can it be so big and growing in a demo so fickle and hungry for other ways to listen to music?
Barrie McCorkle - Posted on December 23, 2010
Pirates use Twas all year long. Just saying.
Click here to view archived comments...
Archived Comments:
Keith Austin - Posted on February 15, 2011
So what is radio listenership like overall compared to a few years ago? Five years ago? Ten years ago?

The highest concentration of listeners in my radio market are all Men 18-24 and Females 18-24.

How can it be so big and growing in a demo so fickle and hungry for other ways to listen to music?
Barrie McCorkle - Posted on December 23, 2010
Pirates use Twas all year long. Just saying.