For many grassroots groups, radio still matters. Latino talk radio played a significant role in spurring on the hugely successful immigration rallies a few years. Pirate radio remains an innovate and potent force in the neighborhoods of Miami. But at the same time, lots of ethnic radio stations are going into financial free fall because large portions of their advertising budgets came from the predatory real estate industry. And over the last 10 years, the average share of Americans listening to radio at any given time has shrunk about 14 percent, or 2.3 percentage points.
But the online radio audience has begun to lurch upward. The latest study by Arbitron and Edison Research shows that weekly online radio audience increased significantly in the past year to 17% of the U.S. population age 12 and older; up from 13% in 2008. On a weekly basis, online radio reaches 20% of 25-to-54 year-olds; up from 15% in 2008.
Other key findings from The Infinite Dial 2009: Radio’s Digital Platforms, include:
- More than one in five radio listeners (21%) say AM/FM radio has a big impact on their lives; ranking second only to owners of the Apple iPhone in particular (23%) and cell phone owners in general (47%) as the audio platform/device that has a big impact on people’s lives.
- Online radio listeners are more likely to be upscale, well-educated and employed full time;
- 54% of weekly online radio listeners are employed full-time (compared to 43% among persons 12 and older);
- 16% of weekly online radio listeners live in homes with an annual income greater than $100,000 (vs. 10% among persons 12 and older);
- 37% of weekly online radio listeners have a college degree or higher education level (vs. 29% among persons 12 and older).
iPod/portable MP3 player ownership and iPod use continues to grow dramatically.
- 42% of persons age 12 and older own an iPod or other brand of portable MP3 player
- 64% of 18-to-24 year-olds own a digital audio player
- 32% of teens age 12-to-17 and persons 18-to-24 are spending less time with over-the-air radio specifically due to time spent with iPod/other portable MP3 players
- 22% of Americans age 12 and older have ever listened to an audio podcast
- 11% (27 million) reported having listened to an audio podcast in the past month in 2009
So maybe check out if there are local online stations in your state or community. And begin asking membership, especally younger folks, what kind of radio they are listening to. The complete study, The Infinite Dial 2009: Radio’s Digital Platforms, can downloaded via Edison Research Web site.