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Eight Things Brands Have Completely Wrong About Radio


Westwood One
Westwood One

The perception of media audiences is skewed by prevalent myths in the advertising community. Using data from research leaders Nielsen, the Federal Reserve, and Edison Research, Westwood One's Insights disproves eight of the biggest perceptions brands hold about AM/FM radio.

  • Perception #1: "Due to the pandemic, no one is listening to AM/FM radio." Reality: According to the latest Nielsen Fall 2020 Nationwide Report, AM/FM radio has retained 95% of its persons 18+ reach from the Fall 2019 survey.

  • Perception #2: "Due to the pandemic, everyone's working at home and no one is commuting." Reality: According to the U.S. Federal Reserve, 60% of Americans are commuting every day, a sharp contrast to the perception.

  • Perception #3: "AM/FM radio has very low reach." Reality: 88% of all Americans are reached by AM/FM radio on a weekly basis, according to Nielsen's Q3 2020 Total Audience Report.

  • Perception #4: "Audience shares to Pandora/Spotify are nearly equal to AM/FM radio." Reality: Edison Research reports AM/FM radio is twenty-one times larger than ad-supported Pandora and ten times that of ad-supported Spotify.

  • Perception #5: "In the world of the connected car, the number one thing people do in their vehicles is stream online radio on their smartphones." Reality: AM/FM radio still rules the road. Among ad-supported audio, AM/FM radio has a dominating 88% share of time spent.

  • Perception #6: "Today's optimal media plan: Put all of your money into TV and digital." Reality: Adding AM/FM radio to the TV and digital plan generates incremental reach for the same spend.

  • Perception #7: "I would love to consider audio. However, there's a total lack of ROI and sales lift evidence for AM/FM radio." Since 2013, Nielsen has conducted more than a dozen return on investment studies across a variety of consumer categories that prove that AM/FM radio generates significant positive return on advertising spend.

  • Perception #8: "AM/FM radio listening only happens during drive times." Reality: 61% of total American AM/FM radio listening occurs outside of drive times. Many Americans listen to AM/FM radio during middays and weekends.

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