One of the very first data points we showed at the Worldwide Radio Summit 2016 in Hollywood was the mostly good news that Persons 14-29 rank their favorite FM radio station for music fourth in importance in their daily lives, behind smartphones, Social Media and video games. We say mostly good news because just behind FM music radio lurks Pandora and Spotify.
While we’ve seen lighter engagement with radio among younger people in our biannual NuVoodoo Ratings Prospect Studies, we’ve never had enough sample to really pull apart the younger demo. But, with 2,074 respondents 14-29 culled from all PPM markets in this new study, we had sufficient sample to drill down deep.
The troubling news is that the 14-17’s in our sample are substantially less engaged with FM music radio than even the 18-29’s. They’re about as engaged with Spotify as they are with FM music radio. And many are not engaged with either source.
Radio used to be a major touchstone for teens and teens could be relied upon for mammoth TSL. But, video games, the Internet, smartphones and Social Media have all played roles in disrupting the relationship between younger people and music – and especially younger people and music sources.
While the possible music sources in their lives are dizzying, part of radio’s value proposition for generations has been the connection between teens and DJ’s. Unfortunately, we’re seeing that connection being eroded as well. The 14-17’s in our sample are far less likely that their older siblings to find value in the DJ’s on radio. It’s worth noting that even among the 18-29’s, females are less likely than males to find value in the hosts.
While 14-17’s are not yet in prime demos for advertisers, they will be all too soon. To maintain its relevance, radio needs to dedicate stations to connecting with these young people. We put forth some ideas in our presentation at Worldwide Radio Summit 2016, including young-targeted stations that start their existence as apps and websites (and just happen to have FM outlets) and aggressively seeking hosts who can relate to these younger consumers. It’s the latest bend in the road for a business that might have died in the 1940’s when the great radio show hosts defected to television.