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  • Writer's pictureJim Gagen

Old School – What’s Old Is New Again

“New Media Kills Old Media” – Or Does It?

A few weeks ago, a radio salesperson posted a recent article on LinkedIn about debunking a number of radio myths. To summarize, the myths are:

1. “AM/FM radio has very low reach”

2. “If you want mass reach with Millennials, go with television”

3. “Audience shares to Pandora/Spotify are nearly equal to AM/FM radio”

4. “In the world of the connected car, the number one thing people do is stream online radio on their smartphones.”

5. “No one under 35 listens to AM/FM radio anymore.”

6. “Six out of 10 agencies/marketers believe radio listening is dropping.”

7. “Today’s optimal media plan: put all your money into mobile and social.”

The article debunks each of these myths with research from Nielsen, Edison Research and The Advertising Research Foundation.

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

Admittedly, when I first saw the post, I only skimmed the article as I knew the perception/reality pitch from past presentations I’d seen and thought the salesperson was just regurgitating old research. However, after two more radio salespeople posted the same article and another one e-mailed it me, I figured it was updated research findings. Turns out it was, as the article sources 2018 in two places. The reason I thought the article was sourcing old research was because I used almost the exact information on radio listening in 2016 to sell Network Radio to a client. In fact, the client questioned the research, opining that it was not true as people didn’t listened to radio anymore. He added that he had not listened to radio in eight years. My response was something like, “Nielsen says otherwise.” I think I bit my tongue and didn’t also say, “You aren’t the target audience,” which I should have said because he earlier mentioned that he books EVERY restaurant reservation through Open Table. (Since the target audience for this client was mid-to-lower income, he was injecting his personal experience rather than thinking about the target market, but I digress.)

Key Points:

· In the hyper-changing media landscape, it’s interesting that radio listenership has changed so little between 2016 and 2018 that the research results are indistinguishable.

· Despite the strong evidence to the contrary, there still are a number of myths in the marketplace about radio listenership (and other media habits).

Perception and Reality

Given this gap between perception and reality among agencies and marketers, I can empathize with radio salespeople. However, there’s nothing better to fight incorrect perceptions than cold, hard facts…maybe that’s a subject for a future blog.

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