With the rise of smartphones and social media, it’s easy to lose track of one of the oldest and most reliable means of communication. Radio continues to reach millions on a daily basis, straddling lines of age and ethnicity to deliver billions of hours of content. As a public relations professional, it’s important you follow the latest developments in modern radio, including:
For all the attention given to the internet and mobile devices, radio remains the most widely used communication method. Fully 92 percent of Americans, or 271 million people, use AM/FM radio. By comparison, only 89 percent of the population watches television, while only 83 percent use smartphones, 50 percent use personal computers, and 37 percent use tablets. This means that by publicizing via radio, you have the potential to reach a broader swath of the population than any other medium can offer you.
Not only is radio the most widely used means of communication, but people of all races and ethnicities find it valuable. Hispanic and Latino Americans listen to radio every bit as much as non-Hispanic whites, with 42 million Latinos, or 97 percent of that population over the age of 12, tuning in on a weekly basis. Likewise, 92 percent of black Americans, or 32 million people, listen to the radio each week. Given how marketers must appeal to an increasingly diverse consumer base in the coming years, this makes radio indispensable for success over the long haul.
Besides crossing racial and ethnic lines, radio also brings together people of all age groups. Among millennials, or those born between 1980 and 1996, 68 million people, or 92 percent of that population, listen to radio each week. This closely matches the 95 percent of Generation X members (born between 1965 and 1979), as well as the 94 percent of Baby Boomers (born between 1950 and 1964), who use radio. Marketers looking to reach younger customers without abandoning established audiences would do well to rely on radio.
In evaluating PR opportunities, it’s important to consider not just who uses the radio, but how they use it. People rely on radio for a cornucopia of different types of content, and are particularly likely to get their news from it. According to a Nielsen study, Americans collectively listened to 10.5 billion minutes of news radio each week in 2016; this represented a significant increase from 2015, when we listened to 9.6 billion weekly minutes. This suggests that people turn to radio content to teach them more about the world, and thus that there is significant potential for “native content” marketing strategies over radio. Marketers who create radio spots that give listeners new information on trending topics have the greatest potential for success.
MediaTracks Communications offers a wide array of information about audio services for PR professionals. Visit contact us for more on the changing nature of radio.