November 28, 2011

Loyal radio listenership continues to rise

Loyal radio listenership continues to rise
By TIFFANY K. BAIN

Since I was about four or five years old, it was extremely rare that a weekday morning passed without me hearing “Oh, Oh, Oh, it’s the Tom Joyner Morning Show!” blaring from my parents’ home, work, or car radios.

The same way some people can’t get through their mornings without a cup of coffee is the same way my family and I feel about the Tom Joyner Morning Show. We can’t go a weekday (and some Saturday mornings) without tuning in to laugh uncontrollably at the jokes we hear from the show’s personalities and guests, to stay informed about news relevant to our community, and to jam to our favorite old-school and new-school songs.


Neither one of my parents nor I have met anyone from the show personally, but since we’ve been loyal listeners for nearly 17 years, we feel as if we’ve known the TJMS crew long enough to consider them old friends or extended family. And I’m sure that the other 8 million listeners that tune into the TJMS every week feel the same way we do.

To some people who believe that radio – specifically traditional radio – is a dying breed of media, the idea that millions of people still listen to radio may seem far-fetched. However, this year, Arbitron concluded that 241.6 million people or 93.1 percent of all people in the U.S. still listen to the radio, and that number has grown since 2010. Additionally, Arbitron suggests that “nearly 94% of Black consumers aged 12 years and over listen to the radio each week—a higher penetration than even the general radio market.”

There are several reasons why radio listenership is at an all-time high, especially among African American listeners. Some people like to listen to a variety of music, news, local traffic updates as well as hear about opportunities to win money, gas cards as well as tickets to concerts, sporting events and exclusive events. Others simply want to maintain their loyalty to their favorite radio personalities and programs like my family and I do.

Also, radio is a “cool” type of media, which means that listeners don’t have to listen intently to enjoy it, and they can complete other tasks while listening. This is why so many people can listen to their radios at work at a low audible volume without getting distracted or in trouble by their employers.

And unlike other competing platforms, radio is still one of the most inexpensive forms of media available. Unfortunately, everyone in the U.S. can’t afford to buy the latest flat screen TV’s to enjoy HDTV and digital cable, or stand in line for hours (and some cases days) to purchase the latest Apple product, or find the money for a computer and the monthly fee to access the Internet, and some people prefer not to engage in books or magazines for various reasons.

So for those of you who think that radio is dead (or know people who declare that it is) should reconsider your (or their) position.

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