We wanted to put Doug Schoen's thesis to the test to see if, in fact, Maine small business owners' perceptions of traditional AM/FM radio have been misguided by the lopsided share-of-attention enjoyed by newer media options.
Doug Schoen is a pretty smart guy. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard where he also received his law degree. He earned doctorate of philosophy from Oxford. He co-invented overnight polling for political campaigns. He has written tons of books. And the clients of his market research company, Penn, Schoen & Berland, include Proctor & Gamble and AT&T.
A few weeks ago, in an article published in Forbes magazine, the very smart Schoen said, "You wouldn’t know it from all the media coverage focused on streaming video and streaming music, but recent Nielsen data shows radio actually has the most reach among American media consumers. 93% of adults listen to the radio each week as compared to 87% who watch TV, a substantive difference. Schoen goes on to say, "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."
To test Schoen's thesis we surveyed Maine business owners and media buyers who depend on Portland radio to market their goods and services. One hundred of them told us what they thought. Here is what they know about radio that just ain't so.
Misguided Perception 1: Television Reaches More Adults Each Week Than AM/FM Radio
Seventy percent of our survey respondents perceive that more people watch TV each weak than listen to the radio. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Actually, as Schoen pointed out, radio reaches 7% more adults each week than TV. As a matter of fact, radio, still reaches 93% of adults every week. This is the same percentage reached in 1999 before there was Pandora, Spotify, Sirius/XM, iTunes, YouTube, Hulu, Twitter, Facebook, iPhones, and iPads. Clearly, traditional AM/FM radio is an engaging and relevant part of most people's media day.
Misguided Perception 2: 60.5% of Adults Are Reached By Radio Each Week
On average, survey respondents believed that only 60.5% of adults are reached by radio each week. This just ain't so. We know from recent Nielsen research, the number is 93%. This, according to Nielsen, is a bigger reach than TV, smart phones, tablets and PCs:
Misguided Perception 3: Sirius/XM Is Used More Than AM/FM Radio
A surprising 33% of survey respondents perceived that satellite radio commanded a larger shareof adults' time spent with audio media than AM/FM radio. A"Share of Ear" study conducted by Edison research earlier this year, revealed that AM/FM radio dominated adults spend with any audio media. The study reveals that time spent with AM/FM radio is actually almost 9 times more than satellite.
Misguided Perception 4: Pandora and Spotify Are Used More Than AM/FM Radio
Clearly Pandora and Spotify are the flavors of the month. More that 39% of our survey respondents perceived that these two streaming media services were used more than traditional AM/FM radio. Edison found in their "Share of Ear" study, however, that good ol' AM/FM radio had quintuple the usage of Pandora and Spotify combined. As a matter of fact, no other audio medium comes close to AM/FM's dominance of consumer's ear.
We have been making the case for a long time that after 95 years of testing, Portland radio has proven to be a powerful marketing tool for Maine small businesses. We have published testimonials from small business owners like realtor Cathy Manchester who doubled her sales in just one year when she started advertising on radio. We have printed studies from major research companies that clearly demonstrate that radio adverting delivers a greater return-on-investment than any other medium. As Doug Schoen says at the conclusion of his Forbes article, "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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