Why Radio Will Always Be Relevant

Author: Annette Malave, SVP/Insights, RAB

A glance at the history of music and entertainment consumption highlights radio’s strong position among alternative audio options.  And as the U.S. population increases, the number of people tuning into radio continues to grow.

What is the reason for radio’s continued relevance?  Is there just one single reason?

I’m certain if you were to ask a roomful of radio listeners why they listen to radio, you’d probably get a few different responses.  But when Deloitte Global, a professional services company, takes a deep dive into radio and predicts its future, the forecast for radio is bright.  The reasons?  Let me count the ways:

  1. Radio’s incredible weekly reach.  As the U.S. population grows, radio continues to reach over 90% of adults every week, even among working 18-34-year-olds.
  2. Radio is unobtrusive.  People don’t have to “lean-in” to listen to radio.  They can go about their day with radio as a companion.  It is the voice that whispers in their ear.
  3. Radio is important to consumers across the socio-economic scale. As the education and income of U.S. adults continues to grow, the more radio listening occurs.  Contrary to popular belief, radio is tuned into by people of various levels of income and education.  Based upon a Deloitte 2018 survey, listening by those at the higher income level or degrees increases.
  4. Radio is the original mobile medium.  People tune in on the go.  It’s how they learn about news and traffic.  Americans spend nearly 97 hours annually sitting in traffic according to the latest INRIX Scorecard, so it should be no surprise that people use radio while in-car.  But radio is used everywhere – while at home, at work and across various platforms and devices.
  5. Radio is easy.  Turn it on, click an app, ask Alexa to play it – you’ve got it.  Enough said.
  6. Radio is age-agnostic.  Across the numerous formats available, radio reaches and is tuned in to people of all age groups.  The reasons behind why Millennials, Gen Xers or Boomers listen to radio vary – ranging from DJs to new music and content to intangibles like convenience. It’s live and free!
  7. Radio is resilient. Radio continues to play a dominant role in the lives of Americans and is expected to maintain that position.  According to the Deloitte Global report, the prediction is that by the year 2025, “American 18-34-year-olds will likely spend more time listening to the radio than watching traditional TV.”

Those are seven sound reasons for explaining radio’s relevance – past, present and future.  Some of the reasons are the core of what makes radio so great and relatable to so many.  Radio’s continued relevance may also be due to the immeasurable emotional bond that listeners have with radio.  Whatever the reason, it’s clear that radio’s reign as a relevant and important part of people’s lives will continue.

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