Are Teens Listening To More Radio?

from the might-ask-them-to-define-radio-first dept

Here’s a surprising study. A survey from a company called Paragon Media Strategies claims that people between the ages of 14 and 24 are listening to more radio than they were a year or two ago. This greatly contradicts the findings of Arbitron, which famously tracks radio listeners. Paragon suggests that radio stations may be doing a better job connecting with people and that “the music may simply be more interesting.” Of course, all of this might depend on how you define “radio.” I wouldn’t be surprised if many folks in that age range are listening to streaming radio online or downloadable podcasts — that they might consider to be radio. But that’s quite different than actually listening to terrestrial radio.

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Comments on “Are Teens Listening To More Radio?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

I guess I’m not a teen anymore, but having been one as early as a year ago, I’ve gradually gotten more and more tired of static media – cds, ipods – the pre-recorded, stored, picked out music. Not that I am against it, but in the car and DEFINITELY while working on homework, I frequently switch to the [web]radio in order to get more variety out of my listening. What usually ruins the experience is the 15-ish top 40 mainstream stations owned by the same one or two corporations available to me. What’s the point of radio when it is nothing but the same set of cds being played on each station? Because I currently live in Austin due to college, there is considerably more variety and non-mainstream (not “alternative rock”, think along the lines of obscure mix stations, death metal nightly, etc) content on the airwaves. Our public access channels on tv even are either fully dedicated to the local and generally independent (not “indie”) live music scene, or contain a plethora of programming ranging from 9/11 conspiracy theorists, to “the atheist experience”, to some insane religious dude who scares the living shit out of me more than the program that comes after him, and I shit you not: the program after his is a nightly satanist hour. There’s a lot more, but you get the picture.

When I’m doing homework, however, and seeking relaxing music or new songs in general, i flip on web radio, and usually not regular radio (i don’t think i have any devices that play fm broadcasts, unfortunately) – the reason being greater quality, greater variety, free, and no commercial time. with wifi enveloping virtually the entire city, webradio works almost as good as the airwaves in some cases.

In my previous hometown of dallas, however; it’s burned cds, ipod, or bust.

Sos says:

Whats the difference?

I wouldn’t be surprised if many folks in that age range are listening to streaming radio online or downloadable podcasts — that they might consider to be radio. But that’s quite different than actually listening to terrestrial radio.

If you look at it in terms of content, there is no difference except for the delivery medium.
In fact there are radio stations that have been saved by providing streaming and podcasts – such as ABC Radio National in Australia (

SteveD says:

Something else at play?

Well Mike, there’s another way you could look at it.

I think the use of CD’s and CD players in cars has gradually been worn away by iPods with FM transmitters.

But I’d argue that filesharing and mp3 players were having a positive effect on the size of the music-listening audience, that more people were listening to more music then ever before.

But the problem with a personal MP3 player is that despite how big a selection of music you might have, since its your collection you’ve probably listened to most of it already.

So if this new technology is increasing the rate at which people consume media and their thirst for new content, the only good way of finding that new content (when you’re not sitting in front of a computer) is through old technology; the humble radio.

Example; this morning on the drive to work I was bored with everything on my mp3 player, so I listened to the radio. I heard their first play of the new Guns&Roses track. I don’t have that on my mp3 player yet, but I might do by tonight.

So with any luck music stations will find that if they improve and diversify the music they play then they’ll compete better for peoples attention.

Anonymous Coward says:

I know it’s not the same thing exactly, but I live in the UK, and when I moved to university I started listening to the radio a lot more, simply because I couldn’t be bothered paying for a TV license (even though you don’t need a TV license to watch DVDs on a TV, DVDs get kinda boring after a while).

I found all kinds of stations that I didn’t even know existed, which was kinda cool.

KJ says:

my 2 cents

I’m not exactly in the demographic, but since I still go out to see indie bands at least once every other week, I’d say I’m not acting my age…so here’s my two bits.

In the car and during work hours I listen to the CBC here in Canada, which plays A LOT of new music. If you’re into new music I recommend listening to cbcR3 (web broadcast and podcasts) or Radio 2 drive on CBC radio 2 – 3pm EST.

On the subway, I listen to podcasts and tracks that I pull down off sites like Epitonic.

At home at night, I stream web radio. RadioIO is my favourite site due to the variety of stations offered and the fact that they have human programmers rather than just playing a shuffled genre mix…it surprisingly makes a difference.

I also like to tune into alternative stations in major cities like London, LA, Seattle and New York to hear what’s being played there.

Based on the number of web radio products that manufacturers are coming out with I’d say this market is starting to expand rapidly.

The only place I listen to terrestrial based radio is in the car (and rarely on my clock radio while staying in bed too long in the morning)

MK says:

My 12-yr-old, much to my chagrin, is a devout top 40 listener, and probably a recording industry exec’s dream. She uses the radio to learn about new music which guides her purchases on iTunes. She also actually likes DJ’s- I’m old enough to be just plain tired of all that vapid banter, but I do remember a time when I used to enjoy it too. So that’s her value-added motivation.

Shane C (user link) says:

Indie Radio

I’ll admit first off that I’m outside the 14 to 24 age range. But, I do have a significant amount of friends falling in the later part of that age range. A good portion of these early 20 somethings are listening to independent, non-top 40 radio stations, at least in their cars.

They’ve all got iPod’s and/or some other type of mp3 player. But even with 80GB of music, that selection does get stale. Therefor, they are relying on college stations (student ran, non-NPR), and the like to fill their need for “introduction to new music.”

So yes, they probably are listening “more” to (terrestrial) radio, simply because there are more offerings available these days.
(remember, a 100% increase of 1, is 2!)

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