The Revival Of Radio

USA Today’s Money section recently reported that radio was making a surprise return. Arbitron data reveals that more listeners are tuning in, which is a strong signal that the industry may be ready to rock and roll again.

In 2010, the weekly radio audience increased by 2.1 million, with an average of 241.6 million people age 12 and older listening to conventional radio stations each week, according to data compiled by Arbitron for its annual RADAR 108 National Radio Listening Report.

Radio is benefiting from its ability to adapt to local markets, which has helped the industry appeal to the growing Hispanic population. Arbiton reports that the number of Hispanic radio listeners rose by 1.1 million last year as stations targeted programming to Spanish-speaking audiences.

The industry is also profiting from this year’s surprisingly strong market for local ads, especially from its largest customers, automakers and dealers. The Radio Advertising Bureau says that the auto industry accounted for $1.8 billion of radio’s $17.3 billion in ad sales last year, with the industry increase of 6% over 2009.

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“This is great news because it downgrades what the naysayers have been saying about all traditional media going into a downward spiral due to digital and mobile,” says Karen Bleier, media director at MDG Advertising. “The interactivity radio stations provide through the emotionally charged relationships they have with their very targeted listeners coupled with the geo-targeted opportunities they provide equal-cost effective results for marketers.”

While the industry is certainly improving, radio is still faced with challenges. Edison Research reports that from 2000 through 2010, teens and young adults reduced their radio listening by half as they became more involved with cellphones, video games and the Internet.

While the end of radio has been frequently reported, perhaps it has been exaggerated. Recent activity reveals increases in both listenership and advertising, which shows that a radio revival may be in the air.

Karen Bleier is the media director at MDG Advertising. MDG Advertising, a full-service Florida advertising agency, with offices in Boca Raton and New York, NY, specializes in developing targeted Internet marketing solutions, exceptional creative executions and solid branding and media buying strategies that give clients a competitive advantage.Our core capabilities include print advertising, branding, logo design , creative, digital marketing, media planning and buying, TV and radio, public relations, Web design and development, email marketing, social media marketing and SEO. To view MDG’s portfolio, click here.

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