BIA/Kelsey: Local Radio Stations Remain Relevant - Radio World

BIA/Kelsey: Local Radio Stations Remain Relevant

One in a series delving into the report “The Position of Local Radio Stations: Trends for 2016 & Beyond”
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One in a series this week delving into the recently released report “The Position of Local Radio Stations: Trends for 2016 & Beyond.”

For 2015, over-the-air advertising revenues declined by 1.6 percent while online revenues grew by 11.6 percent. Despite new competition for ad dollars, radio’s ability to deliver local audiences to national and local advertisers allows it to remain an important part of the local media marketplace. That’s according to the report “The Position of Local Radio Stations: Trends for 2016 & Beyond,” out this morning by research and advisory firm BIA/Kelsey.

For information and entertainment, audiences now have more options from which to choose — from satellite delivery and online streaming audio services, to personal music players and internet services. These options play a role in the weekly reach of radio and the time spent listening for different demographic groups. According to a national RADAR survey of listeners by The Nielsen Co., Millennials and Generation X listen to the radio less than Boomers (11.2, 13.6 and15.1 hours per week respectively), as these two younger demographic groups make use of other sources for entertainment and information.

In a nationwide survey by Edison Research and Triton Digital, “The Infinite Dial 2016,” also cited in the report, AM/FM radio tied with friends and family as the highest ranked source for keeping up to date with music, closely followed by YouTube in third place and Pandora in fourth. (See Fig. 2 from the report, above at right.)

Mobility, specifically in cars, is one of the main reasons for the continued success of local radio stations. This same survey asked about audio sources in the car, with responses for both 2013 and 2016. AM/FM radio is still No. 1 as the audio source respondents use “most or almost all of the time,” with MP3 players, online radio and satellite radio seeing substantial increases from 2013 to 2016.

Although they continue to attract large audiences, local radio stations must understand the many choices their audiences have and devise strategies to retain or increase these audiences, especially among younger demographic groups.

The report’s message is that, even with smaller audiences and slowing of over-the-air advertising revenue growth, radio stations can still prosper if they remain flexible in how and what they offer their listeners.

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