It was only recently when US-based radio company iHeartMedia filed with NASDAQ to go the direct listing route under the ticker “IHRT,” and is set to debut July 18. Radio, though can’t keep up with the streaming pace, has been a popular medium for everyday listeners.
Despite the increase in streaming demands, radio is still the most consumed audio source during travel and there are a host of other metrics that seem to indicate that radio is still popular. Radio used to be the primary medium of new music. Music listeners discovered and found out about new artists from radio programmes. Radio has had the ability to break a song that was unfamiliar to the rest of the country.
Since those days are long gone, music radio has now become a reactive medium which relies on streaming charts from Spotify or Apple Music than their own tastes. The hits that are added to radio playlists are relatively older than the streaming chart-toppers. Gen-Z listeners have already moved on to something new, something fresh and that cuts down the chance of radio being popular among the new generation.
Even now, it is a daily companion for consumers. It helps them start their day usually in the 6 or 7 a.m. hour, accompanies them to work, and then peaks around the end of their workday or commute home.
“As the media landscape continues to fragment and evolve, a new trend is emerging: AUDIO-based content is hip and decidedly in fashion. You’d have to be a hermit not to know that audio, in all its various forms, is increasingly winning the attention of American consumers. Podcasting, streaming and smart speakers are all shining new light on what’s being called the other channel into the consumer’s mind,” said Brad Kelly, MD, Nielsen Audio.
Teenagers use the radio in similar patterns at the beginning and end of the day with reduced listening during school hours. On weekends, usage is slightly different without the demands of work and school driving the daily routine. Weekend listening spikes in the middle of the day, when consumers are most likely to be out of the house, the Nielsen report said.
Radio connects with the right audience at the right moment – particularly when consumers are out and about and ready to shop and buy. Most radio is consumed away from home during the day; particularly when driving to and from work or running errands.
Meanwhile, as commute times grow, consumers spend more time in their vehicles, where radio remains the preferred choice for listening.
“AM/FM radio, the original electronic media, is the load-bearing wall in audio’s house. Broadcast radio’s continued success and resiliency is due in large part to the enviable space it occupies in the automotive console. It’s free, ubiquitous, and at the fingertips of virtually every consumer on the road today,“ added Kelly.
Add to that solid foundation all the new delivery platforms and limitless content being offered from streaming and podcasters, and it’s easy to understand why the sector is growing. Voice- activated assistants are becoming commonplace, which makes access to audio content seamless and easy. Taken collectively, we’re entering an exciting new age for audio as media, he further opined.
In conclusion, one can only hope that iHeartMedia’s IPO should be interesting and that it will give the company some financial support and encouragement to do better in the radio space. The question of continuing to offer the old radio in the same way, or innovating the radio experience to reach out to Gen-Z is completely up to the radio company.
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