5 Facts About Portland Radio That Will Surprise Maine Business Owners

Portland_Radio_Maine_Small_Business_OwnersSome Maine small business owners take Portland Radio for granted. After all, it’s been around since 1925 when WCSH radio began broadcasting  at 970 AM.  But, despite the inundation of new media and new technology, a study released last week by Nielsen shows 700,234 adults in Southern Maine tune-into a Portland radio station every week. This makes Portland radio the most used medium by Maine’s consumers.

If you find the number of people who tune-in every week surprising, here are four more facts about Portland radio that every Maine small business owner needs to know.

1. Listeners are Loyal To Their Favorite Radio Stations

According to Nielsen, the typical radio listener in Portland tunes into fewer than 3 different radio stations each week. On the other hand, Nielsen research indicates that over the course of a month consumers will watch 20 different TV channels, use 28 smart phone apps, and visit 55 websites on a computer.

2. Time Spent Listening To The Radio Has Not Changed

Each week, according to Nielsen, 93% of consumers tune into an AM/FM radio station.  This is the same reach radio commanded in 2001 before the advent of iTunes, YouTube, Sirius/XM, Pandora, Spotify and Facebook.  Despite the proliferation of new media, the amount of time consumers spend listening to the radio has remained constant.

Average Time Spent With Media Per Adult 18+ Per Day

Screenshot_2016-10-02_06.07.35.pngSource: The Nielsen Total Audience Report Q2 2016

3. Radio Provides The Highest Return on Investment of Any Medium

Perhaps most important to Maine small business owners is the favorable return-on-investment advertising on Portland radio can deliver. Research giant Nielsen Catalina found, on average, radio commercials produce a $6.00 sales lift for every $1.00 invested. According to Ad Age magazine, these findings indicate that advertisers can expect higher returns-on investment from radio than TV, digital, or social media. 

This ROI study from combined data from Nielsen’s newly acquired radio-audience measurement business with shopper-card data from Catalina to link consumers’ media usage directly to their buying decisions.  Radha Subramanyam, a media executive with deep credentials in television, digital and radio said, “”I have never seen such consistent delivery against advertising metrics and this kind of massive return on investment.”

Of particular importance to Maine small business is how well retail advertising performed in the study.  Retail brands found the highest return on investment from radio advertising with results ranging from 11.1% ROI to 23.2% ROI.  According to Ad Age, these results are “eye-popping.”


4. Most Radio Listeners Stay Tuned In During Commercial Breaks

93% of consumers stick around when the music stops and listen to radio commercials. Surprised? So were media buying professionals and station owners who believed only about 70% of listeners stuck with stations through commercial breaks.

To determine who listened to radio commercials three research companies, Arbitron (now Nielsen Audio), Coleman Research, and Media Monitors, studied 18 million commercial breaks comprising 62 million-minutes of commercials over a 12-month period. Here are the highlights of the study:

  • The average station runs 9 minutes of commercials per hour spread out over 2.6 breaks
  • No Button Pushing: 93% of lead-in audiences stayed with the station during the entire commercial break
  • 99% of listeners stay tuned during commercial breaks of 3 minutes or fewer
  • Even spot breaks of six minutes or longer held 85% of listeners through all the commercials.
  • There was little difference between how many younger listeners stayed tune during commercial breaks and the number of older listeners who did

We Should All Be Paying More Attention To Radio

It’s not only Maine small business owners who are sometimes surprised by the longevity of radio’s dominance. Sometimes the marketing experts are taken aback, as well.

Recently Doug Schoen wrote in Forbes Magazine, “Despite how often the media reports on newer forms of advertising, it is in fact free broadcast radio – yes, a mass market medium that’s been around since the 19th century – that often most effectively reaches and truly influences consumers.”

“The implications of results like these,” continues Mr. Schoen, “Are profound for the communications and advertising industries and as a marketing professional with over 35 years of experience, I found this data nothing short of fascinating. It’s quite clear that we should all be paying more attention to radio, its reach and potential to help our businesses. It’s doing the job with expert efficiency.

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