Is Traditional Radio Ready To Go? New Study Says Yes, Broadcasters Disagree

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Radio has become one of the most persistent forms of media the public knows today. It has remained a steady source of news and entertainment for its audiences, but a new study says the medium might not have a bright future.

This new study is courtesy of Larry Miller, head of the New York University’s Steinhart Music Business Program. In his report, Miller said radio has “failed” to spark the engagement of Generation Z audiences, or those born past 1995.

The statistic seems relevant as Generation Z listeners will soon become an integral part of the market in the United States. They will possibly be 40-percent of all consumers in the U.S. in three years. Exposure to a digital environment may have urged Gen-Z consumers to lose interest in traditional media which, unfortunately, includes the radio.

The “gloomy” news also pertains to devices people use to listen to the radio. By 2020, most new cars are expected to be “connected” to digital services. This means radio will find itself to have competitors for audio options of drivers.

This extends to “smart speakers” that are becoming popular in the market today. As some of them do not even have AM/FM capabilities, users of the products will inevitably have to rely on digital services to listen to songs and other services.

Miller concluded that “unless the industry is set to make peace with a long and steady decline,” then radio must start investing on strong digital services.
Dennis Wharton of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and a representative for Nielsen responded to the report, disagreeing with the claims.

Nielsen cited the first quarter data of its 2017 Total Audience Report, where it says Generation Z respondents have in fact spent at least a day tuning into AM/FM radio monthly. They added that a huge number of Americans in fact use the radio for useful and informative programming every week.

The Nielsen representative wrote for Variety that their data proves that radio wouldn’t be in any “danger” as the medium was able to adapt to its market. The representative added that radio is also capable of reaching a lot of media, again as evidenced by their data.