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The Bridge Ratings First Look: The Future of Radio 2010


For Immediate Release:

Friday November 20, 2009

Listening to AM/FM radio (weekly cume) has reversed a seven year trend according to a new Bridge Ratings study in its annual "Future of Radio" media consumption survey.

The study, conducted during the months of July, August and September 2009, revealed that weekly usage of terrestrial radio had risen in key demographics. In the chart below, Adults 25-54 usage of radio halted a long-term slide by improving over 2008's 93.1 percent figure. In 2009 93.5 percent of Adults 25-54 spent at least 15 minutes per week listening to an AM or FM radio station.

This number was fueled primarily by population growth and an increasing interest in additional listening by study panelists..

Balancing this news is the continued attrition among 18-34 year olds where the year-to-year trend goes from 2008's 91.6 percent to 2009's 90.7 percent.

Based on interviews and continued population growth, Bridge Ratings estimates that the growth will continue into the period 2010-2012 with slight increases for adults over 25 and continued slippage for those listeners under 24.

"While listeners of all ages over 25 are using multiple sources of media for entertainment," explains Bridge Ratings President Dave Van Dyke, "there is a trend toward more - not less - tune in of terrestrial radio on a weekly basis this year. 68 percent of the participants in the study felt they would be listening the same amount in the future while 22 percent told us they would likely be listening more based on recent experience listening to AM/FM radio content."

Those under 25 are also utilizing more sources of media, but are tending to spend more time with alternative sources and have less opportunity or interest in tune-in to terrestrial radio.

The chart reflecting all pertinent demographics is below.

"What's fascinating," continues Van Dyke, "the comparison of weekly cume tune-in when related to the numbers from 2000." (The blue line in the above chart). "One can see the distinct reduction in usage between 2000 and 2008 as we left out the interim years to accentuate the magnitude of attrition in those eight years."

In just about every adult category, the forecast is increased weekly listening at least through 2012 based on the interviews conducted for this broad-based consumer usage of media.

Media Consumption 2006 - 2012

In its just-completed study of 2009 media consumption and interviews with the "projection panel", AM/FM radio has stablized its attrition and has received positive votes from the medium's users. Panelists expect to listen more to AM/FM radio in coming weeks and months as reflected in this growth chart of competitive media since 2006.

Next to AM/FM radio and mobile phones, social media and MP3 players are having the biggest media impact on Americans.

Of particular interest in this new study, all four of these media are intertwined (co-usage) by almost one in 5 Americans. This means that close to 60 million Americans have utilized the inter-relationship between radio, cell phones, social media and MP3 players. The significance of concurrent media use is significant on a number of fronts including the advertising implications for AM/FM radio stations which are learning to use mobile phones, social media and MP3 players as extensions of their brands.

Examples of usage include:

  • Instant messaging, social networking listening or Twittering via mobile phones
  • Radio station social networks via websites
  • Music discovery and podcast replays on MP3 players



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