The Enduring Power of Radio

Brandon Grosvenor wrote this on May 18, 2017 | 0 comments

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One of the Most Versatile of Media, Radio is Adapting to Take Advantage of Digital Technology.

Without question, Canadians love radio. According to Numeris survey results released in 2015, 54% of Canadians find radio to be an important part of their daily lives. Nearly half of Canadians tune in to the radio while relaxing at home. 10 million listen while at work. Close to 80% of Canadians think radio is essential to making their time in the car more enjoyable.1

Given these numbers, it’s easy to understand why radio remains a strong advertising medium. Last year, the CRTC reported that ad revenues for Canada’s commercial radio stations – as well as those operated by the CBC – have remained stable over the past five years. The country’s 704 commercial radio stations had total revenues of $1.6 billion for the broadcast year ending Aug. 31, 2015.2 More than 68% of that total came from Canada’s five largest commercial radio broadcasters.3

Advertising on Radio Makes Sense

People listen to radio when they’re getting up in the morning, commuting to and from work, doing household chores, preparing dinner in the evening, walking the dog… you name it. No other medium tops that kind of advertising environment.

Advertisers use local radio to target specific geographical markets, where listeners follow local news, events and personalities. National radio, with its broader reach, provides exposure to national brands. Radio stations target different audiences with their programming schedules. This enables marketers to efficiently connect with special interest groups or different age groups.

Radio advertising is a low-cost medium compared with the rates of press or television advertising for reaching similar audiences.

A Changing Landscape

Radio, like all forms of traditional media, is undergoing change in the age of digital. While AM/FM stations continue to attract a loyal following, many Canadian listeners, especially younger ones, are taking advantage of internet connectivity. They drive the demand for services like satellite radio, streaming and podcasting. Boosted by the availability of radio on mobile devices such as smart phones, these delivery channels give advertisers access to a much wider audience.

A great example of this is the popular music streaming services, Pandora and Spotify, major players in the internet radio industry. At the end of 2015, Pandora controlled 31 percent of internet music streaming; and Spotify controlled 6 percent.4

The two services operate differently. Pandora, available in the U.S. but not yet in Canada, allows users to create a “radio station” based on songs, genres and artists they already like. Pandora then finds new music that matches their tastes. Spotify, available in Canada since 2014, lets users choose specific songs they want to listen to, whenever they want to hear them. Although it offers radio stations, too, it’s better suited to streaming music that users already know and love. Both services include advertising.

Then there’s iHeartRadio, launched in Canada last year by Bell Media. Promoted as “North America’s fastest growing digital audio service”, this free service, which includes advertising, features streaming channels and sought-after music events. It also provides access to hundreds of stations, and is available online, via mobile devices, and on select video-game consoles.

These are a few examples of how radio, a powerful advertising medium, is rapidly changing.

Talk To Us

In the evolving radio landscape, ad buying needs to be much more diversified than it was in the past. This requires a sophisticated strategy based on solid audience research. At Brand Grow Media, our specialists will put in the time to investigate the listening preferences of your target audiences. From there they will determine the best strategy for buying radio advertising that gives you maximum reach for your budget.



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