Who Made up 85% of Radio Consumption in Q1 2017?

BY Rachel Cagle
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There’s a common fallacy when it comes to radio: millennials and the younger generations are not fans and, in all probability, never will be. Luckily, after listening to a podcast in which RAB’s CEO, Erica Farber, interviews DMR Interactive’s President and COO, Andrew Curran, about radio’s audience, I’m here to tell you that radio advertisers can breathe a little easier when thinking about the future.

Before we get to that though, let’s also calm your nerves concerning another misconception that could affect the future of radio advertising: smartphone pure play streaming (Spotify, Pandora, etc..) is becoming increasingly popular. Curran says that, according to a Nielsen Comparable Metrics Report, in just the first quarter of this year, 190 billion minutes of radio was consumed by adults 18 years of age and older, while that same age group only consumed 8.6 billion minutes of smartphone streaming. “I think what smartphone audio has replaced is not radio, but it has replaced record stores. It has replaced compact discs,” says Curran. He goes on to say that this can be seen through the evolution of cars and how most newer models have done away with CD players, but radio is still readily available.

Nielsen also reports that 85% of AM/​FM radio consumption is absorbed by employed people. That’s where the millennial misconception comes in. During the years that this belief about millennials began to rise, a large percentage of this age group wasn’t old enough to work, at least more than part-​time. A lot of people’s consumption takes place in their cars to and from their jobs and then wherever else they may happen to be driving. It makes sense that those with a job to go to consistently would have more opportunities to listen to radio this way than, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 40% of Americans over the age of 16 who are not employed.

So, you can tell your radio advertising clients that they can rest easy when it comes to the future. Smartphones haven’t even made a sizeable dent on radio’s listeners and the younger generations will, in all likelihood, begin listening to radio more frequently once they become employed. And what’s so bad about waiting until then? “Employed people have the buying power!”