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Bouvard Laments “Yawning Gap” in Marketer Perceptions About Radio

Cumulus publishes analysis to counter prevailing sentiments about AM and radio in general

“Ford owners are massive users of AM radio.”

So writes Pierre Bouvard, chief insights office of Cumulus Media, citing data from MRI Simmons.

That is but one of his observations as Cumulus Media/Westwood One released an analysis of listening data from sources that also include the Nielsen fall 2022 survey, Edison Research’s “Share of Ear” and research by Advertiser Perceptions.

Bouvard regularly posts about the power of radio and what he calls misperceptions about the medium among the broader marketing community.

He summarized takeaways from the new Cumulus analysis:

“The Nielsen Fall 2022 survey reveals that 82,346,800 Americans listen to AM radio monthly; 57% of the AM radio audience listens to news/talk stations, the very outlets that Americans turn to in times of crisis and breaking local news; and one out of three American AM/FM radio listeners are reached monthly by AM radio,” he wrote.

“Additionally, Edison Research’s ‘Share of Ear’ indicates that AM/FM radio dominates listening in the car with an 88% share of ad-supported audio; AM/FM radio’s near-90 share of in-car ad-supported audio has been steady as a rock for the last six years; AM/FM radio’s ad-supported shares in the car are dominant across all demographics, even among 18-34s; and … agencies and advertisers underestimate AM/FM radio shares and overestimate Pandora and Spotify audiences.” (He cited Advertiser Perceptions data on that last point.)

On the subject of AM, he wrote: “Ford owners represent 20% of all U.S. AM radio listeners and are more likely to listen to AM radio. Recently Ford indicated a desire to remove AM radio from their vehicles. MRI Simmons, the gold standard of what Americans buy and where they shop, reveals Ford owner are massive users of AM radio … One out of five American AM radio listeners own a Ford vehicle; 23% of American AM radio listeners own a General Motors vehicle. Owners of major Ford vehicle models over-index on AM listening. This means Ford owners are more likely than the U.S. average to listen to AM radio.”

A major theme for Bouvard, here and in past posts, is that “there is a yawning gap in agency/marketer perceptions of audio audiences.”

He quoted Colin Kinsella, former CEO of media buyer Havas Media North America, saying, “The biggest risk for radio is the 26-year-old planner who lives in New York or Chicago and does not commute by car and does not listen to radio and thus does not think anyone else listens to radio.”

Bouvard posted a number of graphics from the Cumulus reasearch (read it here).

He also posted an 11-minute video summarizing the Cumulus analysis (watch below).