Is Radio Dead? Maine Small Business Deserves To Know

Nobody In Portland, Maine Does Not Listen To the Radio

Maine small business owners and advertisers of all sizes take note: “Nobody listens to radio!”  So says Merlin Aylesworth, President of NBC.  According to Aylesworth, “Within three years [radio] will be wiped out.”  This view is supported by Bernard Smith of Harper’s Portland Maine Radio Small Business Advertising CommercialsMagazine who said, “[Radio] may, for a brief period of time, maintain a marginal existence before being finally relegated to the storeroom.” 

There is good news, however.  These predictions of radio’s imminent demise were both made in the late 1940s at the birth of commercial television.  The bad news is that despite the reports of radio’s death being greatly exaggerated over the past 70 years, the “NOBODY LISTENS TO RADIO” refrain lives on.

So recently when a retailer in Portland, Maine challenged my proposal for advertising on the radio because, of course, “nobody listens to the radio,” I began to wonder: who are these nobodies that don’t listen to radio? 

First of all, most sources for media consumption data indicate that the nobodies who don’t listen to radio represent 7% of the U.S. population.  This compares to the 25% of Americans who don’t read newspapers; and 35% of people who do not have broadband internet access.  So, clearly, despite the celebrity of high-tech media darlings such as Pandora, Hulu, and YouTube, these upstarts reach a lot more nobodies than radio. As a matter of fact, they reach 5 times as many nobodies than radio. But I digress.

To help paint a picture of the nobodies who listen to radio, I turned to The Media Audit, published by International Demographics, Inc., a company that provides comprehensive media audience measurement and consumer intelligence to the advertising industry. Media Audit shared with me 919 attributes pertaining to Americans that say they never, ever listen to radio. Here is the attribute I found most interesting…

…people who do not listen to the radio are 54% more likely than the general population not to have used the internet in the past month.

A-ha! This means that the internet is not siphoning off radio’s audience. As a matter of fact, in 2002, in the days before Facebook, Twitter, Pandora, YouTube, Flikr, and Tumbler, more than 91% of all Americans listened to radio.  In 2014, despite all of these online distractions, more than 91% of all Americans still listen to the radio.

So, what are the other attributes of the nobodies who don’t listen to radio?  Here are some of my favorites.  These people are

  • 72% more likely to be over the age of 75
  • 51% more likely to have a household income of less than $15,000
  • 49% more likely to have only landline phone service
  • 44% more likely to have not graduated high school
  • 20% more likely not to own a vehicle
  • 20% more likely not to have satellite or cable television

Additionally, here are some of the attributes that the nobodies who listen to radio don’t possess.  They are:

  • 44% less likely to be an opinion leader
  • 34% less likely to pay $30,000 or more on their next vehicle
  • 30% less likely to be a white collar worker
  • 29% less likely to be a business owner
  • 24% less likely to be a member of a credit union
  • 23% less likely to have an Individual Retirement Account
  • 17% less likely to have $100,000 or more in liquid assets

As I see it, the one attribute that the nobodies who don’t listen to radio have in common is: they tend to be the consumers least desired by most marketers.

After nearly 92 years, radio remains a vital component of America’s media diet.  Almost nobody doesn’t not listen to the radio. Click here for 15 vital signs that radio is just as healthy today as it has ever been.


Here is a free download every Maine small business should readEffective Radio Advertising Portland Maine Small Business