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AM Radio: Talk, News Sports … to Nothing?

Kassof says based in survey, many won’t notice AMs’ demise as its franchise programming moves to FM

“Talk” is AM radio’s number one top-of-mind image. As that programming increasingly migrates to FM, AM will become even less viable than it is now.

So says program consultant Mark Kassof & Co., based on the findings from his latest survey, derived from 412 telephone interviews among 18–64-year olds.

When asked: “What is the very first thing that pops into your mind when you think of AM radio?”

Nineteen percent of 18–64s named “talk” — talk shows or talk radio in general. Information, like news, weather and traffic, was next, at 13%.

But 10% indicated that “nothing” comes to mind about AM. Among 18–24s, that response rises to 17%.

One respondent characterized AM as “something I don’t even know if my car has.”

And 9% overtly volunteer that they don’t listen to AM at all … many indicating that they haven’t for a number of years. This response is highest among 45–54s, at 20%.

Company President Mark Kassof says the bottom line is that AM is effectively branded — intentionally or by default — as a place for talk, information and sports. This imagery is a “survival mode” for AM.

But increasingly, that nonmusic programming is successfully shifting to FM. As that shift continues, AM’s “franchise” on those services — its remaining raison d’etre — will be gone. Based on this research, many won’t even notice, according to Kassof.