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Radio Still Relevant for Youth According to New Kaiser Foundation Study

Today the Kaiser Family Foundation released its latest report about media consumption among young people. The study, Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds, indicates that youth are consuming more media than ever before and that this trend is largely due to the increasing availability of mobile media and the tendency for youth to use multiple forms of media simultaneously (multi-tasking).

Within the study, there are some intriguing statistics about radio, indicating that it is still used with regularity by kids and teens. As I read through the report I was struck again by the fact that computers and mobile media may actually be breathing new life into radio, as youth now have the option to listen in when they don’t have access to a terrestrial signal.

Another important reminder from the study is that despite all of the gloomy news that we hear about radio (especially among youth), radios are the most common type of media found in a young person’s bedroom. More kids and teens reported having a radio in their bedrooms than any other media, including TVs, CD players, DVD players, computers, and video games.

Here are some radio-related highlights of the study:

-94% of youth surveyed in 2009 said that they lived in homes with at least one radio (vs. 97% in 2004, 98% in 1999)

-The average number of radios in the home of an 8 to 18-year-old in 2009 was 2.5 (vs. 3.3 in 2004, 3.4 in 1999)

-75% of youth surveyed in 2009 said that they had a radio in their bedroom (compared with 84% in 2004 and 86% in 1999)

-55% of young people surveyed in 2009 listened to music over the radio in a typical day (vs. only 48% who reported listening to music on an iPod/mp3 player in a typical day and 43% saying they listened to music on a computer, including Internet radio)

-Among those who listened to music over the radio, the average time spent listening was 56 minutes a day

-45% of young people said that they listened to other forms of audio (besides music) on a typical day, including  radio and the Internet.

-The average amount of time that young people listen to music daily is 2 hours, 19 minutes. iPod/mp3 player comprises the largest portion of the listening pie at 41 minutes. But, radio follows closely behind at 32 minutes (tied with computer listening via iTunes/Internet radio).

-33% of young people reported listening to non-music programming over the radio on a typical day, with the average time spent listening 28 minutes.

To get a sense of how radio stacks up against other forms of media (including newspapers and TV), take a look at the full report on the Kaiser Family Foundation website.


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