Once upon a time, the conventional thinking was that traditional, broadcast radio would evaporate from our lives. That the iPod, smartphone, Spotify, and satellite radio would simply destroy this format. But that decline has been far less precipitous and far more complicated than anyone could have imagined.
And right now, in 2011-turning-2012, there are still a huge number of people listening to traditional radio. According to survey stats just shared by Arbitron, a monstrous 241.3 million Americans - or 93 percent of adults over the age of 12 - listen to broadcast radio at least once a week. And, that is happening in-dash, online, and through apps like iHeartRadio.
Additionally, the figure is up 1.4 million over December of 2010, and even the difficult 12-17 demographic is holding steady. Beyond that, the 18-24 sector is actually showing some growth. "Radio now reaches 66.3 million weekly listeners in this age range, that's 93.4 percent of this demographic," the 'Radar National Radio Listening Report' for December states.
But, 93%? It does seem a bit high, and figures coming from inside the traditional radio industry are best viewed with a dose of skepticism. That said, the impact of regular radio rotation for artists remains massive, and one of the main reasons why major labels have such a huge promotional advantage. Call radio crusty and out-of-touch, but this is one of the few formats that still reaches tonnage while severely restricting content.
Which leads to a tiny, controlled group of winners, and one of the most restrictive gatekeepers in the music industry. While doing some research last year, we stumbled upon some very startling statistics: the number of artists getting more than 100 spins on any given week was just over 1,300, and roughly 70 percent of all spins came from just 1,000 songs.
Meanwhile, mega-conglomerates like Clear Channel Radio are trying to eat Pandora's lunch with iHeartRadio, and part of the attack involves community. Because despite its limited playlists, annoying commercials, and deejay interruptions, broadcast radio still attracts a very sizable crowd. There's someone else out there.
/paul. Written while listening to Yousef.
@nathanthompson Thursday, December 08, 2011
@johndrossjr Thursday, December 08, 2011
John D Ross Jr
93% sure, but for how long and how often?
@AlisonBzz Friday, December 09, 2011
Yeah, it's called KCRW.
@johnpstrohm Friday, December 09, 2011
John P. Strohm
Old habits die hard.
Yves Villeneuve Friday, December 09, 2011
@SeanTheAlly Saturday, December 10, 2011
Wow. Wish more stations would take chances though. Lame programming dominates.
@MusicIdeaz Sunday, December 11, 2011
Despite limited playlists, commercials, and deejay interruptions, broadcast radio still attracts a crowd.
Bill Rosenblatt Monday, December 12, 2011
You're misinterpreting the Arbitron figure of 241 million. It includes Internet and satellite radio, not just terrestrial broadcast. I know it doesn't say that explicitly in the Arbitron press release, but if you look around their website you'll see that this is how they count. It makes sense given that they want to claim the largest number possible.
@5919ent Tuesday, December 13, 2011
I guess video hasn't killed the radio star.
Visitor Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Personally, I think the recording industry is intimidated because due to the digital technology, most individuals can produce a quality sound recording that is equivalent to what they produce. In a desparate effort to maintain control, the mainstream recording industry has created such a restriction that most songs that are played on maintream radio are repetitive [e.g. played every 3 to 4 hours.] I guess their philosophy is "if we don't produce them, radio stations shouldn't play them."
Unfortunately, this creates a win-lose situation. The record companies win because they make profits and maintain control. The independent artists lose because they never get air play; and, the listeners lose because they won't have the opportunity to appreciate more diversity of music but are forced to listen to the same songs every 3 to 4 hours.