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Here’s the Buzz from Radio Week

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Author: Annette Malave, SVP/Insights, RAB

Engagement. Local. Heart. Soul. Creativity. Partnerships. Those were words that resonated across the various sessions and events that took place during Radio Week.

From Oct. 5 – 9, CEOs, managers, sellers, radio personalities and some the brightest creative directors participated in two of radio’s biggest events – Radio Show and the Radio Mercury Awards.

Like other 2020 industry conference, these were virtual. But the passion, excitement and enthusiasm for broadcast radio and its ability to connect, engage and support listeners and local businesses was as live as if held at an event venue.

Here are some of the things shared during the Radio Mercury Awards and Radio Show 2020:

  • “Leading with heart and soul is about ourselves. How do we upgrade our own emotional and operating systems? What is important is that no company or team can transform unless the individuals in the company transform.” – Rishad Tobaccowala, futurist, author and senior advisor, Publicis Groupe
  • “This industry has seen wars, depressions and recessions. It’s a resilient media and, looking forward, I think there’s no question that it will rebound from this experience as well.” – Hubbard Radio CEO
  • “This year will be known as another time in history when humanity found itself challenged, not only in the face of a pandemic, but by social change,” said final round judge John Matejczyk, CCO/Co-Founder, MUH-TAY-ZIK/HOF-FER San Francisco. “Radio has shown what it does best during these unprecedented times by connecting and giving a platform for our communities to be heard.”
  • “I love it when people say that no one listens to the radio anymore and I bring that conversation up on the air. I’ll mention their name on the air and maybe even the area where they live. If you know them, let them know and their phone ends up blowing up. We’ve even used that with clients. It disproves the theory that no one is listening immediately. – Woody Fife, on-air personality, Alt LA, “The Woody Show”
    “We need your superpower and commitment to be diligent with us to accelerate our force for good and force for growth mission.” Radio has a unique capability unlike other media channels that is critical for this Force for Good and Force for Growth work to succeed and be sustainable. Radio can inform at the local level, have two-way communication between talent and audiences in real time, DJs know their communities, their audiences, how to talk to them and how to mobilize them for good.
  • “Radio has preserved, as it always does in times of crisis,” David Fields, Entercom President and CEO said about the challenges radio faced this year. “It’s been there for the American public as a source of solace and respite, providing great news, information and companionship – all the things radio does.”
  • Radio’s commitment to serve is as strong as ever. It is “at the intersection of commerce and community” – Brian Buyers, VP of Development, Neuhoff Media
  • “(Radio is) that person in the empty seat next to you in the car every day, the person who talks to you in the shower, or when you’re getting dressed and getting out of bed, when you’re cooking, eating, doing yard work, doing house work… we keep people company wherever they want us to keep them company,” he said. “Unlike other media, people don’t come to radio for an hour – and that’s it for the day. They’re checking in through the day… In times like these, radio has strengthened that relationship with the consumer.” – Bob Pittman, Chairman and CEO, iHeartMedia
  • “I think my takeaway is that this (pandemic) will be part of history and it has changed how we are doing radio,” noted DeDe McGuire, on-air personality, “DeDe in the Morning.” “The way we are receiving information, the way we are listening and the ways to deliver it have changed and especially with utilizing social media, it has been a great learning experience and made me step up my game.”
  • “A lot of folks are (negative about) local radio. I think it’s a phenomenal business because of that localization. You’re in the market. You live in the market. You know the community, and the community knows you,” he said. “I think local radio is going to be very important going forward because of localization.” – Byron Allen, Chairman/CEO, Allen Media Group and founder Entertainment Studios
  • “(But) with the industry’s ability to broadcast from anywhere and everywhere, the audio platform has been extraordinarily resilient. Consumer behavior radically changed during the shutdown, as you can imagine. But audio for the most part has remained really a vibrant part of the daily lives of our listeners.” – Mary Berner, President and CEO, Cumulus Media
  • “For real change to take place, there must be a willingness to cede power. The power dynamic has been obscenely skewed and just not equitably distributed. There must be an acknowledgement that everyone does not have the same power and there needs to be a willingness or an eagerness to cede power and/ or to use your power to empower someone else.”
  • On Connoisseur Media’s adaptability at the onset of COVID-19, Jeff Warshaw, founder and CEO stated, “this was the time that our licenses and obligations to serve our communities were really put to the test. We had engaging conversations with our listeners. We opened our mics to make sure that people had an outlet and a place to be heard.”
  • The growth of podcasting and interest in creating podcasts is shown by people who have never been involved in audio before. Attributing podcasting’s growth to the speed, ease and joy of it, Mangesh Hattikudar, SVP, Podcast Development, IHeartMedia/Stuff Media stated, “It’s the joy of producing and connecting with an audience fairly close to immediately is something you just don’t get in a lot of places.”
  • “Talent is really willing, able and anxious to connect. “It’s a critical part, particularly in this environment, making everyone feel comfortable and connected and that’s what radio talent is best at – better than any other talent in any other medium – its connecting with the listeners, and that’s what advertisers want.” – Chesley Maddox-Dorsey, CEO, A Wonder Media Company, LLC
  • “I flip the radio on, and I’ve got some ‘interruptions,’ if you will.” He said the personalities talking on the radio – even the commercials, felt like “a couple extra people that are with me and I am no longer alone.” – A survey panelist on the companion aspect of radio

Like what you read? You can hear (and see) more by clicking here for Radio Show and here for Radio Mercury Awards.


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Back-to-School … at Home

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Author: Annette Malave, SVP/Insights, RAB

It’s August! Did you know that August is considered National Back-to-School Month? It’s the time when parents of school-aged children are in the deep throes of clothing, shoes and school-supply shopping. This year will be no different from any other.

Unlike what occurred earlier this year, families can now plan ahead. A recent Zulily survey, found that 63% of moms say that it is important to plan for a “worse-case scenario.” Despite the uncertainty of how schools will open, students and parents intend on doing back-to-school (BTS) shopping.

Based on a YPulse survey, 54% of parents plan on doing BTS shopping this year, but plans can change. According to results from this same survey:

  • 69% of parents might not need to shop because of COVID-19
  • 62% will wait until classes start to shop

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), families with children attending grades 12 and under will spend nearly $800 this year. Families with college students plan on spending well over $1,000. In each case, these numbers are up and may even be higher than initially expected, as many parents are prepping for at-home learning.

So, how will this money be spent? According to the NRF, while some spending will be allocated to clothing, shoes and school supplies, electronics/computer-related equipment spending is projected see the greatest spike. Families with back-to-schoolers (K-12) will spend nearly 35% more on average on electronics/computers – close to double 2019’s total. Families with college-bound students are projected to spend 11% more on average (than in 2019) on electronics/computers.

Along with these traditional purchases, what will be new to everyone’s list are cleanliness products. A Rakuten Advertising survey found that 28% of grade/high school students’ shopping lists were comprised of cleanliness products like tissues, face masks and hand sanitizers, compared to college student lists at 26%. Regardless of which survey you review, the overwhelming method of purchase for any scholastic items will be online.

While it may be back to school at home this year, holiday shopping is also on the minds of families. According to the Rakuten Advertising survey, 60% of BTS shoppers are also browsing for holiday gifts and over 35% are buying school supplies and holiday gifts.

As noted before, radio drives search for various products and services. Radio can connect advertisers with listeners who have children of any school age. Based on MRI data, 77% of adults with college-bound students and 80% of households with children ages 6-17 are broadcast radio listeners. Radio listeners are a rich target for advertisers of various retail categories.

Without a doubt, it will be hectic for families this year, even with planning. Moms are most concerned about health, juggling work, parenting and online learning, according to the Zulily survey.

During this back-to-school-at-home season, advertisers who have the goods and services that parents need can use radio to not only promote safety of in-store shopping but, just as importantly, communicate how families can shop online for the back-to-school needs from the safety and convenience of their own home.

What are some of the creative ways you’ve prepped for back-to-school? We’d love to know.

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Political Media Buying 2020: How Has the Coronavirus Impacted Strategies June 2020 Update – Part 2

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Contributor: Leo Kivijarv, Ph.D., Executive Vice President & Director of Research of PQ Media

In August 2019, PQ Media projected that political media buying would reach $8.33 billion in 2020. This projection was made before Michael Bloomberg became a Democratic presidential candidate and spent over $500 million in his failed attempt to win the nomination. Additionally, since the original projection was made, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, requiring politicians to revise their media buying strategies because planned rallies and fundraising events had to be cancelled.

Since the last blog post, a few items have happened which will impact the 2020 presidential and other elections.

  • Joe Biden won all the primaries and caucuses held on June 2 and June 9. As a result, he has secured the necessary number (1,991) of delegates to win the nomination during the August Democratic National Convention.
  • Donald Trump has asked that the Republican National Convention be moved out of North Carolina after its Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, was hesitant to relax social distancing rules for the planned Charlotte venue. As of June 15, Jacksonville, Florida has replaced Charlotte, although there are still debates being waged on whether social distancing will limit the number of real-time attendees.
  • Polls released during the weeks of June 8 and June 15 show that Biden’s lead is widening nationwide and in key battleground states. Trump’s tough “law and order” stance during the George Floyd protests around the country did not sit well many Americans.
  • The National Bureau of Economic Research officially announced that the U.S. entered into a recession in February 2020, stating it was “so steep” that the announcement came earlier than normal.
  • The positive May jobs report may have been incorrect due to a “misclassification error.” The Bureau of Labor Statistics admitted that its monthly household survey had mistakenly counted 4.9 million people as employed in April and May, although they were unemployed. Thus, the April unemployment rate was actually 19.5%, not 14.7%, and May was 16.1%.
  • Coronavirus cases have been increasing in 23 states in June, particularly in Arizona, Texas and California. Florida closed some businesses and beaches due to the unexpected increase only a week after giving permission for them to open.
  • Additional Democratic VP candidates have surfaced. Atlanta mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms improved her national name recognition with her actions during the George Floyd protests in her city. Former national security advisor Susan Rice have also been mentioned.
  • Trump to hold his first rally since March on June 20 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but it is not without controversy. Given the recent rash of protests, many individuals and groups were shocked that he chose Tulsa, home to the 1921 massacre of black business people. He was forced to move the date from June 19 to June 20, after it was determined that the original date coincided with Juneteenth, the day that marks the end of slavery.

Analysis of Other Races

It should be noted that some issues impacting the presidential race discussed in the previous blog have relevance in other races as well, particularly COVID-19 and the economy. If an incumbent senator, governor, or house candidate is in a state severely impacted by the virus and unemployment, their chances of retaining the seat are hindered. The issues of mail-in ballots and voter suppression could also affect how many people vote in various states. Many pundits are currently predicting high turnout in select states that have been adversely affected by the two issues referenced above, but which could be mired in chaos during the November election as tabulated results will be delayed due to the voting process. For example, the Georgia primary in June was considered chaotic due to the closure of many voting venues in low income neighborhoods and the placement of new machines that poll workers didn’t know how to use.


After the White House, the most prized possession of the 2020 elections is control of the Senate. Polls suggest that a majority of Americans were frustrated that Senate Republicans voted down numerous measures during the impeachment trial, like interviewing new witnesses. The Republicans want to retain control of the Senate in order to push their conservative agenda, particularly relating to the appointment of federal judges, including too many that the American Bar Association deemed as “not qualified” due to the lack of trial experience. The Democrats want to gain control of the Senate to help push through more than 300 bipartisan and progressive bills that the House passed during the past two years, but which have been tabled by the current Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell.

There are 35 seats up for grabs during the 2020 election – 23 Republican / 12 Democratic. The current ratio is 53 Republicans and 47 Democrats (Independents, like Bernie Sanders tend to vote with Democrats). Democrats take control if they win the White House and capture three seats, or four seats if Trump retains the presidency. Almost half (11) of the Republican seats are considered safe (AK, AR, ID, LA, MS, NE, OK, SD, TN, WV, WY) and two-thirds (8) of the Democratic seats (DE, IL, MA, NH, NJ, OR, RI, VA). That leaves 16 seats that will generate the most political media buying.

Two of the four remaining Democratic seats are considered “likely” Democratic – an open seat in New Mexico and Smith in Oregon, two states in which Biden is expected to gain the electoral votes. Unfortunately, there haven’t been any polls since COVID-19 hit to determine sentiment in those two states. The Republicans are most likely to target Peters in Michigan and Jones in Alabama. There have been no 2020 polls in Michigan to ascertain Peters’ strength, while Jones is behind three different Alabama Republican primary candidates in February polls. If the Jones seat switches back to Republican, the Democrats would have to win four current Republican seats if Biden is elected, five seats if Trump remains the president. As stated a few weeks ago, the 2018 blue wave that helped Democrats in the House was not emulated in Senate races, where Republicans won three of four toss-ups, so it’s an uphill battle.

There are only four toss-up seats, all currently held by Republicans – McSally (AZ), Gardner (CO), Collins (ME) and Tillis (NC). Recent polls have the Democratic candidates increasing leads in Arizona (Kelly) and Colorado (Hickenlooper), in some instances by double digit rates. In Maine, Collins held a solid double-digit lead in 2019 polls, but the Democratic candidate (Gideon) has a single-digit lead in the three polls taken in 2020. North Carolina remains tight, with a late May poll favoring Tillis, while an early June poll favors the Democratic candidate (Cunningham).

Since the margin of error is so thin, the Democrats will target five additional Republican seats currently categorized at “lean Republican”: Perdue (GA), Loeffler (GA), Ernst (IA), Open (KS), and Daniels (MT). In Montana, the dynamics changed when popular Democratic governor Bullock dropped out of the presidential race and entered the Senate race. In a May poll, Bullock took a seven-point lead over Daniels after being even in March when he first entered the race. The Kansas open seat candidates won’t be chosen until August 4, although Kobach and Marshall are the leading candidates to face presumptive Democratic candidate Bollier. In April-to-June polls, Bollier leads Kobach, but trails Marshall. In Iowa, the first poll taken in June shows that Democratic challenger Greenfield has opened a lead on Ernst, some of which has been attributed to the more than $60 million spent on TV and radio leading up to the June primaries, double what was spent in four other states combined that were also holding June Senate primaries.

Georgia has two Senate elections in 2020 after Isakson resigned due to his health in late 2019 and the governor appointed Loeffler until the special election is held in November. By Georgia law, there is no primary, so all candidates will be listed on the ballot in November. Loeffler is being challenged on the Republican side by a Georgia House Representative Collins, whom Trump supports. On the Democratic side, three candidates will vie for the nomination – Lieberman, Tarver and Warnock. In a mid-May poll, Loeffler trailed all three Democratic candidates while Collins beat Tarver, was even with Lieberman and trailed Warnock. If none of the five major candidates receives at least 50.1% of the vote in November, a runoff with the top two candidates will occur in January. Some party officials are asking two of the three Democratic candidates to drop out so that the Democratic votes won’t be split, as there is concern that both Republican candidates could reach the January runoff. Meanwhile, Perdue’s reelection bid is on hold as he was unable to win 50.1% of the vote in the June 9 primary, and thus a runoff is scheduled for August. His presumed Democratic opponent (Ossoff) led in a June poll, after trailing in May, so some might consider this a “toss-up,” rather than “lean Republican.”

As to “likely Republican” candidates, there has been a major shift since February, with two “safe” seats becoming more competitive – McConnell in Kentucky and Graham in South Carolina. Cornyn in Texas has been categorized as “likely” since the beginning of the year. Many believe that McConnell has curried enough political favors in Kentucky over the years that he’ll be able to retain his seat, and subsequently the powerful Speaker of the House position. However, his presumptive Democratic opponent (McGrath) lead in a June poll after trailing in February and throughout 2019. Meanwhile, Graham’s double-digit lead in February has evaporated and his Democratic opponent (Harrison) pulled even in a late May poll. Some wonder why Cornyn is included in this category because he had double-digit leads in March and May polls over two potential Democratic opponents (Hegar and West).

Five months is a long time in Senate races. FiveThirtyEight did an exhaustive analysis of Senate polls during the last eleven elections dating back to 1998. Although they appear to be more accurate than state-level presidential polls, there is a large margin of error – in some instances up to five points. That is, a Democratic candidate could have a two-point lead in the polls but lose the election by three points, which would fall within that statistical parameter of +/-5%. A better indicator of which candidate will carry a state won’t be determined until the October polls are conducted. Because of this uncertainty, both political parties will invest heavily in the sixteen states discussed here. It becomes an issue if any of these states are presidential battleground states, as advertising and marketing inventory will become tight. For example, Arizona and North Carolina are toss-up states in both the presidential and senate races, so TV and radio ad inventory in markets like Charlotte and Phoenix will be in great demand.

House of Representatives

 The magic number is 218 – number of seats required to have control of the lower house of Congress. Currently, Democrats control 233 seats, the Republicans 201, with one Libertarian. In order for Republicans to regain control of the House, they need to retain all their seats and flip 17 Democratic seats – a very tall order given the current prognostications of The Cook Report and Inside Elections. When Democratic safe, lean and likely seats are combined, both sources already have the Democrats keeping control of the House regardless of the toss-up/tilt results – 220 seats and 223 seats, respectively, including three Republican districts that are projected to switch to the Democratic party.

There are 26 House races that are considered “toss-up” races (see table below). Of these, 17 are currently Democratic districts, nine are Republican districts. Almost none are in the six toss-up presidential election states, with the exception of three in Pennsylvania, thus media buying might not be much of an issue for House candidates. If the list expands to include the presidential lean/likely states, more House candidates could find TV and radio inventory issues, including Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota and Texas.

The House races also differ from presidential, senate and gubernatorial races, because candidates only need to purchase the DMA(s) in which their districts are located versus needing to buy inventory in every state DMA. For example, the PA-01 candidates only need to purchase local media in Philadelphia, the PA-08 candidates in Wilkes-Barre and the PA-10 candidates in Harrisburg. COVID-19 is probably less an issue, since statewide initiatives determined if and when social distancing and stay-at-home edicts were enforced. The economic health of select DMAs and the recent reactions by the incumbent to the race protests would be better indicators as to whether the party can hold onto the seat. There haven’t been many polls taken for House seats since the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the polls taken since March, both parties can tout some minor victories. For example, the Democrats are gaining ground in Iowa, while the Republicans have rebounded in Georgia. The expected outcome is that one party will gain approximately five seats (e.g., Democrats will rise to 238 seats OR Republicans up to 206 seats).

The number of other House battleground districts, designated as “lean” or “likely,” is a matter of debate. The Cook Report lists 60 districts that would meet these criteria, Inside Elections only 33 districts. The districts that are the most important are those in the six presidential toss-up states, as these House elections could drive voters to the poll in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Nebraska’s 2nd district. Many other presidential battleground states also have contentious House races that could engage voters in places like Houston, Atlanta, Denver and Bangor.

Toss-Up Races

Lean/Likely Candidates


There are 11 gubernatorial races, not 13 as stated a few weeks ago. More than half are either safe Democrat or Republican – DE, IN, ND, UT, WA and WV. Of the remaining five races, two are likely Republican: MO and VT, while NH is a lean Democratic and NC a lean Republican. The latter two are the only contentious gubernatorial races that are occurring in states that have are among the 16 presidential battleground states.

Only one gubernatorial race is true toss-up – Montana. Current governor Bullock is not allowed to seek another term and is running for the Senate instead. Primaries were held on June 2, with Gianforte, a House member, winning the Republican nod and Cooney, the current lieutenant governor, winning the Democratic nod. No polls have been taken yet to determine if one of the candidates has a slight edge.

Ballot Initiatives & Referendums

Over the last two weeks, an additional nine referendums have been certified to bring the total to 90. On June 15, 2016, there were 106 measures and 116 on the same date in 2012, years in which the final totals were 162 and 188 referendums, respectively. Based on previous trends, 2020 will most likely have the lowest number of ballot initiatives in more than decade, with less than 150 referendums.

Many referendums are not considered “vote drivers” – issues that lead to high engagement among voters. Taxes, bonds, education and voting procedures make up the majority of initiatives, which are not vote drivers. Three issues in 2020 are expected to increase voter engagement: a) marijuana (MS, NJ, SD); b) gambling (MD, SD) and c) healthcare/abortion (AR, CO, LA, ME, MO, OK). Most states with vote drivers won’t make a difference, as they are primarily in safe Republican seats, with CO and ME the exceptions.

 State & Local Races

Democrats are hoping to flip eight state chambers in 2020: AZ, FL, IA, MI, MN, NC, PA and TX – all presidential battleground states, including four of the six toss-up states. These could prove to be better “vote drivers” than referendums. The Democrats are hopeful that the blue wave of 2018, in which they flipped six state chambers, will continue in 2020. Meanwhile, Republicans have targeted seven states that are currently Democratic controlled: CT, CO, ME, NH, NM, NV and NY, of which four are battleground states, but no toss-ups.

Meanwhile, there are 212 mayoral races to be decided in November, primarily in CA, FL and TX. There are 59 contests in cities with over 100,000 population, but only two in cities with more than 1 million people – Phoenix and San Diego, of which Phoenix is in a presidential toss-up state and might be a vote driver. While there are contentious races in other large cities, like Baltimore, most are not in states that are considered presidential battleground states. Other than Phoenix, 21 other cities with over 100,000 population are in battleground states, of which 14 are in Texas – Corpus Christi, Lubbock, Garland, Killeen, Denton, Waco, Carrolton, Round Rock, Abilene, Pearland, Odessa, Sugar Land, Wichita Falls and Allen. The seven other cities include: Winston Salem (NC), Hollywood (FL), Coral Springs (FL), Ann Arbor (MI), Palm Bay (FL), High Point (NC), and Pompano Beach (FL).

Revised 2020 Political Media Buying Projection

In August 2019, PQ Media projected that political media buying would reach $8.33 billion in 2020. This projection was made before Michael Bloomberg became a Democratic presidential candidate and spent over $500 million in his failed attempt to win the nomination. Additionally, since the original projection was made, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, requiring politicians to revise their media buying strategies because planned rallies and fundraising events had to be cancelled. That said, the April-to-August time frame is often the slowest of the political media buying cycle. Primary spending decelerates rapidly as the frontrunners are identified and both parties wait until after their conventions to start reaching out to target audiences. There was a slight anomaly in 2020 as some primaries for Senate and House seats were pushed back due to COVID-19, but in many instances the delayed primaries were not very contested, thus additional SuperPac monies were not a necessity to get favorites elected.

However, social distancing and stay-at-home edicts led to an increase in media consumption. Television viewing surged, particularly on streaming services. Audio listenership jumped, especially on podcasts. Print media readership leapt, although most of the gains were attributed to the digital extensions of newspapers and magazines. Online and mobile usage skyrocketed, some of which was driven by an increase in virtual video teleconferences, straining broadband bandwidth. Direct mail distribution and telemarketing rose to reach the stay-at-home voters. Public relations and influencer marketing took on added importance as politicians had to defend statements made about the impeachment trial, coronavirus and racial unrest. Branded promotional products, like issue-oriented face masks gained in popularity. Market research became more vital in determining the degree of importance of various issues, particularly the impeachment, COVID-19/healthcare, economy and race relations.

From a political media buying perspective, only two media platforms were adversely affected by COVID-19: out-of-home media and experiential marketing. Fewer people were driving in March and April, almost 50% below normal traffic patterns. There was also less foot traffic to many digital out-of-home venues due to closures of movie theaters, gym, salons and office buildings, among others. Experiential marketing was the hardest hit, as consumer political events were cancelled or postponed due to social distancing guidelines. For example, Trump went more than three months without holding a rally. Meanwhile, both conventions have been altered, with the Democratic convention pushed back a month and the Republican convention moved from North Carolina to Florida. Although candidates attempted to hold viral events, attendance suffered, and the lack of voter engagement was evident.

Despite spring and summer being slow political media buying months, politicians were aware of the increased media consumption and placed ads in various media platforms to reach larger audiences than normal during these months. Additionally, politicians were able to reach these larger audiences at a relatively low CPM rate, as most media operators had to drop fees because regular advertisers left in droves, particularly small local businesses and industry verticals impacted by the virus, like airlines, hotels and entertainment.

Revised Total Media Buying by Platforms

As a result of the issues outlined in this blog and the previous one on the presidential race, PQ Media has revised its 2020 political media buying projection up to $9.33 billion, representing a 28.8% increase over 2016 spending. Spending on broadcast television (local and network) will exceed $4 billion for the first time ever ($4.05B), driven by presidential candidates using network television much more than in past campaigns, such as Bloomberg and Trump both spending over $5 million each airing ads during the Super Bowl. Direct mail will rank second in spending, reaching $1.81 billion, fueled by an increase in local politicians using the medium during the COVID-19 pandemic in lieu of holding rallies. Digital media – online and mobile media – will represent 13.2% of political media buying ($1.28 billion), spurred by social media and digital video advertising. Mobile media will exhibit the largest gain compared with the 2016 elections, up 329.4%, as smartphone penetration has almost doubled since the last presidential election. Other media platforms registering growth rates over 50% include public relations & influencer marketing; internet media; promotional products, such as MAGA hats and market research. Two media platforms will post declines in 2020 compared with the 2016 elections – newspapers and experiential marketing, the latter driven by fewer rallies and fundraising events due to social distancing and stay-at-home measures.

Where Does Radio Fit?

Since this blog is being written for the Radio Advertising Bureau and the question is always “where does radio fit?” Audio advertising is expected to rise 29.3% (compared with 2016) to $529 million, with digital platforms fueling the growth, such as podcasts. Historically, radio benefits from multiple contentious races in select states, as campaigns turn to audio when television inventory becomes tight. Additionally, multicultural audiences over-index in audio consumption, thus many candidates will attempt to reach African American and Hispanic voters using this medium, particularly in toss-up states.

(Click here to download this and additional charts.)

Total Media Buying by Campaign Categories

Presidential campaigns are the largest of the six campaign categories at $3.17 billion, representing a 41.6% increase over 2016 spending, spurred by Bloomberg’s self-financed campaign during the primaries. Some Senate campaigns are expected to break records, such as the Kentucky and South Carolina battles to replace among the most vocal Republicans supporters of Trump, McConnell and Graham, which will drive a 26.8% increase in spending compared with 2016, reaching $2.41 billion. Meanwhile, the gubernatorial and referendum categories will post the slowest growth, compared with the 2016 elections due to fewer contested races and initiatives being registered, respectively.

Key DMAs

In which markets will media operators exhibit the strongest growth in political media buying? To answer that question, one must examine the battleground states for the various campaign categories. For example, both the presidential election and Senate seat in North Carolina are considered toss-ups, in addition to select markets that have contentious House and/or local elections. Based on PQ Media analysis, the following 20 DMAs are expected to have major advertising and marketing inventory issues because multiple candidates will be buying time or space. Rankings are based on the closeness of races (e.g., toss-ups vs. lean/likely) and the type of campaign categories expected to spend more than others (e.g., presidential vs. local).

Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock-Hill (NC/SC) is expected to post the greatest growth rate due to a high number of contentious races. Four other North Carolina markets rank in the top six in political media buying (PMB) growth – Raleigh-Durham-Fayetteville, Greensboro-Winston Salem-High Point, Greenville (NC)-New Bern-Washington and Greenville (SC)-Spartanburg-Asheville. Houston-Galveston is the largest market, ranked eighth by Nielsen’s 2020 TV DMA rank. Other large markets include Atlanta, Phoenix, Detroit and Denver-Boulder. There are 12 small markets (ranked 100th or lower by Nielsen), including Presque Island (ME) and Great Falls (MT).

Top 25 DMAs with Multiple Contentious Races

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The Spirit of Radio

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Author: Tammy Greenberg, SVP/Business Development, RAB

Radio has long been known as a deeply personal, trusted and supportive partner for consumers, communities, and companies of all stripes. Fostering unity is part of the DNA of the more than 15,000 radio stations across the country. It is the spirit of radio.

Radio Unites

During a time of great crisis, radio broadcasters provide the most reliable, relevant, and trusted local news and have helped local communities overcome challenges while becoming the critical link for how people can lend a hand. During the shutdown caused by the coronavirus, there were thousands of small businesses in markets across the country that remained open and desperately needed people to know that. Radio, of course, went above and beyond the call.

Radio emotionally connects with fans, supports the community, promotes businesses, and brings all the parties together during unsettling times. As America gets going again, radio remains a trusted companion and a force for good that unites communities.

Reliable Audience

Consumer behavior shifted, and continues to shift, at lightning speed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The crisis sparked concerns about the economy and worries about the physical and mental well-being of people’s families and friends, with more and more folks wondering how they were going to purchase basic items, according to EY.

Partner Message

The concerns have led to dramatic changes in consumer behavior, as millions of Americans hunkered down at home. The EY study adds that 39% of U.S. consumers are shopping online more often and 83% of affluent Americans are trying to stay healthy. A Mindshare study says 55% of consumers have purchased home workout gear.

Amid the changes, radio listening remains a bright spot for consumers, with three times more listeners turning to local radio than any other source, according to an infographic prepared by the Cox Media Group.

As the virus started to spread rapidly in mid-March, radio listenership maintained 96% of its reach and 90% of its average quarter hour audience across all demographics and ethnicities, per Nielsen data as displayed by a Katz Media Group infographic.

The data also revealed that at the height of the work-from-home period — between the second week of March and the second week of April — out-of-home listening levels remained the dominant form of radio listening. The reason? Sixty percent of heavy AM/FM radio listeners who work outside their homes continued to do so and maintained their radio-listening habits.

During that same period, time spent on in-home listening increased 29% and at-home online listening jumped 61%. And the longer stay-at-home orders continued, the more people shifted to audio entertainment, according to MindShare’s consumer insights study.

Those working from home during this period missed certain aspects of their commute. As noted once before, a survey by CarInsurance.org found that the thing drivers missed most was audio in some form — listening to music, podcasts/audiobooks, and talk radio.

Daypart listening also shifted slightly, as more Americans slept in, but midday, evening, and total day radio listening levels have all retained more than 91% of prior audience levels.

As of late June, 42% of radio listeners listened to music on a different or new station more often and are tuning in the same or more regardless of work status, according to NuVoodoo. Specifically, 88% who are going to work outside their home, 89% who are working from home and 77% who are no longer working their regular jobs are all listening to radio the same or more.

According to Triton Digital data as published by the RAB, consumers are spending a significant amount of time listening to radio digitally. They’re listening via an app (46% share in April), a computer (31% share in April), and smart speaker (23% share in April), in the home and via TV, Xfinity, and podcasts. The Myers Report, which tracks media spending, estimates that podcast advertising will grow 8% in 2020, one of the few platforms in positive territory among 21 media categories.

Brands are taking note, with podcast advertising up 7%, according to a Magellan AI study conducted on behalf of Westwood One. The study adds that many top podcast advertisers are also the biggest radio advertisers.

Reliable Source

Consumers lean into their local radio station because they trust the content and the people who carry it. As part of a survey presented in partnership with the RAB, Jacobs Media Strategies asked respondents who they “completely trust” to provide legitimate answers and solutions to the coronavirus outbreak. Radio was second only to the CDC and National Institutes of Health in popularity. Further, 26% and 30% of respondents, respectively, indicated that radio personalities and their favorite morning shows are even more important during the COVID-19 crisis than they ever were.

Building a Bridge for Marketers

A combination of historical and current research compiled by the RAB shows that brands that continue to deliver relevant storytelling across trusted communication channels as consumer behaviors change will be in a much better position as the economy regains its footing.

But in both good times and bad, marketers have the opportunity to fulfill the promise that consumers expect. Sixty percent of small business brands informed customers of new precautions being taken in response to the crisis, 46% offered different options to consumers, and 33% replaced hard sales messages with empathic ones, according to information presented by Borrell Associates during an RAB-sponsored webinar.

According to a separate Myers Report study, radio across platforms delivers multiple, extremely attentive audiences in the communities where they live, work, and consume products. The brands that communicate creatively and send relevant messages are winning the race for consumer attention.

Top brands such as CVS, IHOP, Pizza Hut, T-Mobile, Taco Bell, Walgreens, and Kroger outperformed the ABX (Advertising Benchmark Index) norms for KPIs in a stunning array of ad scores.

The indices show that these brands exceed key metrics including awareness, message, reputation, and action by an average of 35% through their use of radio. The common themes among the high-scoring ads were providing relevant information on how to access the brands, special offers in light of the current situation, and an empathic tone. Notably, two of the highest-performing spots were delivered by local radio station personalities.

Planning for an Economic Revival

As the status of the economy evolves, companies continue to shift their marketing message to reflect changing consumer needs. Borrell Associates has identified a three-part sequential messaging path for the new norm: “We’re open for business” (i.e., awareness/good news), “We’re COVID-19 compliant” (i.e., the company is safe and this is what it is doing for consumers), and “Have we got a deal for you” (i.e., offers to drive immediate traffic and sales).

The radio industry’s plans for an economic revival are to support businesses, people, and communities. Radio will do everything it can to continue to help the economy get back to where it needs to be in markets across the country.

“AM/FM radio is the soundtrack of America’s re-opening and reemergence,” said Tony Hereau, VP of cross-platform insights at Nielsen, in an article by Inside Radio. The article referred to a webinar in which Hereau discussed a recent Nielsen study showing that heavy radio listeners are key to driving commerce and supporting the economy since they’re more likely to go out and shop once COVID-19 eases in their market.

Radio will support national, regional, and local business and will continue to provide its listeners with the content they trust and rely on, the entertainment they want, the sports they crave, and the passion and humanity they need. The medium will also continue to innovate to deliver branded content the way consumers want it, whether over the air or via smart speaker, podcast, TV, and the next digital gadget to come.

“There’s something about the spirit of radio,” says Adam Grant, a creative director at digital agency AKQA. “It helps us all to know each other better and gives us a sense of purpose and community in a time where we need those things more than ever.”

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Radio Has a Great Story

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Author: Annette Malave, SVP/Insights, RAB

As states across the country locked down, it created massive shifts in behaviors and routines. We’ve all read about studies that have analyzed the shifts and the overall mood by people across the country. One thing was evident among all these studies – people are missing what they did every day.

States are slowly reopening across the country. Does that mean that everything will go back to normal? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean that what people want and missed has changed.

People are looking forward to going to restaurants, shopping, seeing family and more. Believe it or not, people are missing their commute to work.

CarInsurance.org surveyed over 1,000 people mid-April about driving during COVID-19. Before the pandemic, those respondents who worked full time spent nearly five hours commuting each week (Some of you who live in major cities are probably wishing your weekly commute used to be that short). You may find it odd, but those adults who were employed full time or who were self-employed and now working remotely, 45% are missing their commute to and from work.

What? Why would anyone miss commuting? Perhaps it is not so much about the commute but more about what they did during the commute. With the ability to select multiple options, the thing missed most was audio in some form – listening to music, podcasts/audiobooks and talk radio.

It’s no surprise that there is a great desire for everything to be the way it used to be, yet we have also adapted. We’ve found new ways to meet, communicate, celebrate and explore and many have also begun to incorporate some of the things they have missed – specifically, radio.

Despite changes in workplace locations, radio has a great story. Offering music, information and entertainment has always been a value that radio has delivered. It is a part of a person’s day and their commute. So, if the new commute is going from their bedroom to their new makeshift office, they are tuning in to radio.

Radio listening levels are returning and getting closer to the levels that existed before COVID-19. According to Nielsen data released earlier this month, radio listening levels are at 82% of where they were before. Despite shifts in where people are located, the majority of radio listening still takes place out of the home (58%), versus in home (42%).

Radio has incredible reach. It connects emotionally. It’s an important part of a listener’s day. Radio has always had a great story and it still does.

Do you have a great story about radio? We’d love to hear it.


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The Spirit of Radio – Connecting in Times of Business Unusual

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Author: Tammy Greenberg, SVP/Business Development, RAB

“There’s something about the spirit of radio. It helps us all to know each other better and gives us a sense of purpose and community in a time where we need those things more than ever.”
– Adam Grant, Creative Director, AKQA (abridged).

Historically speaking, in periods of great challenge, truly there is no more important medium than local radio. In uncertain and unpredictable times, broadcast radio has proven that it is the backbone of the country’s information distribution system, with increased listening among consumers across all of its platforms.

The radio medium is and always has been a “call to action” and a “call to arms” medium. Consumers, businesses and brands turn to radio when they want it and when they need it, in an effort to bring communities together with local and humanized purpose.

Radio, as an industry and its collection of brands and small businesses, is not immune to the economic impact of the current COVID 19 crisis. However, radio broadcasters and radio stations will stop at nothing to continue to deliver on their purpose and to support communities coast to coast. According to a March 2020 Nielsen survey, the current situation amplifies our collective reliance on media. In fact, 83% of Americans are listening to AM/FM radio more or about the same, and advertisers have an opportunity to create lasting relationships with an extremely captive audience.

Radio informs listeners with the latest and most trusted national and local information related to the impact of the current pandemic. Radio entertains listeners while they work from home, and provides listeners with a companion so they feel less alone. It alleviates some of the stress listeners are experiencing, and helps listeners know where they can shop, what they can eat and how they can engage with local businesses. Perhaps most importantly, it brings listeners (communities and our nation) together to help those that need it most. Click for more.

A glimpse into some examples of the true power of radio at work among national and local communities and on behalf of its advertising partners:

  • iHeartMedia’s “Living Room Concert for America,” broadcast in partnership with FOX on March 29, raised nearly $8 million for coronavirus relief, and attracted some 8.7 million viewers, according to early Nielsen ratings. The benefit special paid tribute to the frontline health professionals, first responders and local heroes who are putting their lives in harm’s way to help their neighbors and fight the spread of the virus. The music event encouraged viewers to support two of the many charitable organizations helping victims and first responders during the pandemic: Feeding America® and First Responders Children’s Foundation. The event was kicked off by a generous donation by corporate partner Procter & Gamble, and matched by FOX Corporation.
  • Hubbard Radio’s West Palm Beach morning show cohosts Tim & Chelsea on WIRK 103.1 saved a local restaurant (Morgan’s Country Kitchen in Royal Palm) by taking a series of live call-ins over the air and naturally and sincerely supporting the caller’s anxiety and taking action for the business which resulted in record breaking sales for the restaurant. Take a listen.
  • Impact Radio Group of Idaho offered one free week of advertising on seven local radio stations to 100 businesses. The overwhelming response led to all spots being claimed in under 10 hours, demonstrating the great need radio is to the business community right now.
  • Similarly, Townsquare’s FUN 107 in the South Coast (Mass.) is donating commercials to local businesses that are struggling, with a goal to demonstrate that these businesses are being proactive in their approach, that they understand the struggle that the community is going through and that they will be here and ready with their offers as soon as the state’s restrictions are lifted.
  • The “Big Mama and the Wild Bunch Morning Show” on Beasley Media Group CHR “B 103.9” WXKB Fort Meyers has conducted a medical supply drive to donate gloves, protective eyewear and masks. They have delivered the first batch to Lee Memorial Health System on Thursday, March 27.
  • “Chaz and AJ,” morning hosts at Connoisseur Media classic rock WPLR New Haven (99.1), hosted a commercial free “Small Business Town Hall Meeting” with Senator Richard Blumenthal and Mark Hayward, Regional Administrator of the Small Business Administration on Monday, March 30 which offered meaningful and credible advice to listeners.
  • iHeartRadio, Z100 New York and Elvis Duran have teamed up with the Empire State Building to create a new music-to-light show every night through April 2 to honor the everyday heroes risking their lives to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Each night, Elvis Duran and Z100 will identify and salute the heroes on the front line of this crisis. Z100 then plays the inspiring New York anthem from Alicia Keys, “New York State of Mind,” as the Empire State Building begins its dramatic light show to Keys’ song.
  • With churches closed, communities are lacking the physical connection with a ‘rock’ during this time of crisis. AURN (American Urban Radio Networks) Inspirational Network is offering an Easter special for radio, hosted by Grammy Award-winning gospel artist Bobby Jones.
  • Estrella Media, with radio stations in Southern California, Dallas and Houston, Texas, teamed up with top regional Mexican recording artists for the “Cuidate” (Take Care of Yourself) music video, as part of its #SiSePuede (Yes We Can) community empowerment campaign for COVID-19 prevention.
  • Entercom’s Rhythmic Tony Sco and the Dream Team on KBLX in San Francisco wrote and produced the KBLX COVID-19 “commandments” song, through the filter of the personality of the station and show, providing listeners with tips for staying healthy.
  • Classic hits station KXJ in Juneau, Alaska, is bringing the community together through Neighborhood Karaoke, where every night at 6 p.m., they play Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” and listeners are asked to roll down the windows and belt it out.
  • Magic 97.9 in Boise, Idaho, launched “Letters of Love,” to support the people in the community that need it the most right now. The program invites kids to write a daily letter to a senior/caregiver, doctor or hospital.
  • Summit Media’s Hot AC WURV 103.7 Play in Richmond, Virginia invited teachers to leave a message for their students that were then played over the air spreading love and encouragement.
  • Entercom’s KYXY Radio 96.5 in San Diego flipped over to Christmas music seven days a week, from 12-1p.m., and nightly from 6 p.m.-midnight, to spread joy and offer a distraction to “cheer up” the pandemic.

It’s been noted that the best response to messaging in the current environment follows three core principles:

  1. Be relevant and deliver a positive connection to your brand
  2. Make a difference by ensuring the messaging is both meaningful and useful
  3. Come through and have your customers’ backs, even though it may hurt you financially in the short term

Radio is delivering. Radio is helping businesses, large and small. Radio is a trusted and empathetic medium. Radio is relevant to consumers today and every day.

We invite and encourage you, our advertising partners, to join us and allow us to help you to create lasting relationships with our local audiences. When you do, we are confident these audiences will thank you for years to come.

When it feels like everything surrounding you is canceled, keep in mind, “Radio. It’s On.” Radio is on for your consumers, Radio is on for our front lines and Radio is on for your business!

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Radio. It’s On!

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Author: Annette Malave, SVP/Insights, RAB

Cancellations, social distancing, empty streets, working from home, virtual classes – this has become the new norm for many of us. We are all anxiously waiting to get back to how it used to be. In the interim, there is one thing that everyone can count on. Radio. It’s On.

People across the country are engaged with all the news and media coverage, consuming more media daily since the outbreak. According to a NuVoodoo survey of over 2,500 people who stayed on top of breaking news from March 18 to March 20, 64% of respondents used some form of audio.

Radio, across platforms and devices, has always served as a companion, as well as a form of entertainment and information. That has not changed despite this pandemic. This past week, people have used AM/FM radios, mobile phones, smart speakers and their computer to listen to audio content.

As covered before, radio has a personal and emotional connection – unlike any other medium. People want – and need – to hear a familiar voice during times of crisis – over 51% of people agree.

As people across the country find themselves homebound, they are tapping into entertainment options, and radio delivers. During this same time period, 71% of respondents used some form of audio for entertainment – 48% listened to AM/FM radio, 31% used an app or site to stream and 27% listened to a podcast.

When looking for entertainment options and content via radio or audio, they are listening to everything – music, sports, talk and other formats/genres.

Radio is the original mobile medium, and today’s technology allows listeners to tap into audio content on a multitude of devices – even as they stay at home. According to one report by Entercom, they are seeing increased audio use via devices and platforms. Based on data reported last week, Radio.com experienced a 21% in news listenership with TLH (total listening hours):

  • News & Talk
    • Up 26% on mobile
    • Up 20% on smart speakers
    • Up 16% on desktop
  • Sports
    • Up 15% on mobile
    • Up 11% on smart speakers
    • Up 1% on desktop
  • Podcasts (from February)
    • Up 39% with Lifestyle & Informational genres
    • Up 24% with Political & Talk
    • Up 7% with Entertainment

This is a new world for everyone and people across the country are adjusting to a new norm. Radio remains a constant and dependable component of everyone’s day. Just take a look at some of the reasons why:

Send your examples of Radio It’s On to rabcorpmarketing@rab.com so we may turn it into a social media tile to share. You can find a social media tile like this and others, here.

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The Voice That Keeps You Company

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Author: Annette Malave, SVP/Insights, RAB

During RAB’s team coverage of CES 2020, John Holdridge of Fullscreen, a social content company, believes that there is a pending social recession. He said that people may “optimize their time for their health and well-being, there may be a point of turn-off for social.” How can eliminating social media be beneficial to a person’s health and well-being? According to a survey sponsored by the Cigna Health Insurance Company, loneliness is at an all-time high and triggered using social media. On the other hand, some studies have pointed to audio and voice as an aid to battle loneliness.

Radio, regardless of the device or platform used to engage, has always been credited for its ease of use, companionship and mood-lifting ability. Radio has been considered a trusted friend by listeners. Radio has never created FOMO (fear of missing out). Radio, via the voices on air, has always created a sense of community and inclusiveness. Listeners have admitted that they like to work with the Radio on, which may be why Radio’s reach peaks during weekday work hours, according to the latest RADAR data.

Beyond bringing Radio back into the home, various devices have highlighted one of Radio’s powerful assets – voice. Smart speakers have highlighted what Radio has known all along – the impact and effect of voice.

According to the latest Nielsen Total Audience Report, voice assistants are now used by 40% of adults. These smart speakers are used daily or several times during the day by 60% of adults and 54% of U.S. adults have used voice commands.

What do people do with their voice-activated smart devices? First and foremost, they listen to music (77%) and spoken word (23%), according to the Smart Audio Report. Specifically, AM/FM Radio has the highest share of time spent on a smart speaker – more than any other streaming or audio option. With AM/FM Radio as the top audio source on a smart speaker, it should be of no surprise that smart speakers are now being used to help people feel less lonely.

Radio has been used as a method to manage loneliness for some. The BBC conducted an experiment among 55,000 participants and discovered that listening to Radio was an effective tool to help manage loneliness. The same is true for smart speakers, as experiments and studies have shown that smart speakers, with its voices, can help mitigate that feeling of loneliness among people of all ages.

The voices that have always been considered a companion and a friend over-the-air, are now also available on this platform. The voices of Radio are always available to keep you company.


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Insights into CES

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Author: Annette Malave, SVP/Insights, RAB

Once viewed as an event for techies, CES has radically evolved. CES 2020 was not about consumer electronics, it was about the consumer experience. Technology is shifting everything. It is driving brand transformation and enhancing the experience for consumers, while also having an impact on everything they do – banking, cooking, shopping and raising families.

During RAB’s team coverage of CES, the intelligence of things was not only seen, but heard throughout the convention. There was also a shift in how companies are shifting how they engage and present themselves to consumers. It is no longer about brand marketing, but brand storytelling.

Brand positioning and innovation

Creating products that consumers may want is no longer considered a viable option for today’s brands. Brands now need to place the consumer at the forefront, in order to innovate and remain relevant. As a 182-year-old company, P&G has pivoted and adapted the mentality of a startup, identifying a consumer’s problem and developing a solution. Retailers must reevaluate how to engage with consumers, both virtually and physically, as consumers shop both online and brick-and-mortar. Retailers can mine data to enhance the value and knowledge of their customers to determine what customers need and how to service them.

Shift in social

Facebook. TikTok. Instagram. While these and many other social media platforms and influencers remain popular, what is their future? At CES, the forecast is one of change.

John Holdridge of Fullscreen, a social content company, believes that there is a pending social recession. While people continue to engage with content on social media, he believes that people are “at a time when they are trying to manage their time better.” Holdridge goes on to say that as people “optimize their time for their health and well being, there may be a point of turn-off for social.”

There will also be a shift in influencers – from highly-recognized celebrities to microinfluencers. Jason Jercinovic of North Highland, a global management consulting firm, believes that 2020 will be the year of microinfluencers. Jercinovic defines microinfluencers as normal people talking about what they are doing, such as mom bloggers and even people you turn to for advice on specific products. These microinfluencers place more importance on the audience being influenced, giving brands the opportunity to take advantage of a more intimate relationship, formed via social media.

Success with podcasts

Still in a high-growth mode, the key to successful podcast content and engagement is simple. Anya Grundmann of NPR touts their success to keeping ad messaging limited and “not so in-your-face.” According to Grundmann, the message must sound authentic and not negatively impact the reason for the people listening to that show.

What it means for radio

Thanks to technology, there is a collision between audio and voice and consumers are benefiting from it all.

  • Radio is now more discoverable. HD Radio delivers a rich multimedia user experience – rich graphics, images and supporting text that enhances the end-users’ broadcast radio experience.
  • Voice is now part of the ecosystem. With AI devices, it is now convenient for listeners to shout out something and make it happen – whether it is listening to a radio station or finding out more about a product they heard during a broadcast.
  • Focus on the importance of community. Advances in technology may never be able to replicate the connection to community. Auto dealers recognize the importance of that connection and the power of audio and its scale, which leverages the channel of audio to help serve their community.
  • Radio works. Attribution and metrics prove that. According to March Pritchard, P&G, “radio is as efficient and a delivers a higher ROI than other media.”

As a consumer, what advice would you give the brands you engage with that might improve your experience with them?


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Radio’s Top 10 to Usher in 2020

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Author: Tammy Greenberg, SVP/Business Development, RAB

As we leave one decade to enter another, we couldn’t be prouder of the progress that radio has made to continuously deliver first-class and relevant content to listeners any way they wish to consume it. Among consumers today, audio is hot and radio is hotter. Advertisers from Main Street to Wall Street are tapping into radio’s incredible power and unique attributes. Why? Because radio is emotionally engaging, personal and measurable with the ability to deliver ad messages in a safe and receptive environment.

So, as we usher in 2020, our last post of the year provides you with our Top 10 favorite pieces of newsworthy facts of 2019 (in no particular order) that emphasize the power of radio:

  1. Radio remains the #1 reach medium for 16 consecutive quarters. According to Nielsen’s Total Audience Report, September 2019:
    • Radio reaches 86% of teens (12-17), higher than any other medium or device
    • Radio reaches 92% of Black adults 18+
    • Radio reaches 96% of Hispanic adults 18+
  2. Smart speakers bring Radio back in to the home – 19% of total listening hours to AM/FM radio streams occurred on smart speakers in January 2019, representing a 111% year-over-year increase, according to Triton Digital.
  3. Podcast listening and advertising are on the rise!
    • 39% of agencies and marketers are currently advertising in podcasts, up from 32% in May 2018. Podcast advertising today is over 2.5X greater than it was in September 2015. Read more.
    • Podcast listening increased from 44% to 51% of population in 2019, equating to 144 million people, and 197 million people 12+ are familiar with a podcast.
    • 54% of consumers surveyed regularly listen to 2-3 podcasts.
  4. 96% of advertisers surveyed by RAB plan to create a sonic identity for their brand.
    • 85% agree: “My brand needs to establish audio cues on radio for the growing adoption of voice-activated devices.”
    • Nearly 92% will use radio to trigger voice commands.
    • 83% think radio is the strongest media to establish a sonic brand (followed by 17% digital –0% for TV, Print and OOH).
  5. Radio supports communities from coast to coast – keeping them informed, entertained and engaged, and millions to local charities.
  6. P&G’s Old Spice Pomade wins the $50,000 Best of Show Radio Mercury Award, created by and awarded to Wieden + Kennedy. Get inspired by all the 2019 winners.
  7. Audio advertising is stronger in engaging consumer emotions than visual advertising. Read more.
  8. AM/FM Radio continues to rule the road as the #1 in-car audio entertainment choice.
  9. Radio drives results: significant incremental online activity for businesses across categories, $10:$1 ROI, 8X greater call volume.
  10. Radio has massive reach among registered voters, and rules audio share.
    • Registered voters spend 59% of audio time with ad-supported media, and AM/FM radio accounts for 80% of the daily audio time spent with any ad-supported platform.

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