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Radio Still Relevant, Although not Necessarily for Music Discovery according to Infinite Dial Study

Yesterday Edison Research and Arbitron (ARB) released the latest findings from their ongoing series of studies about the convergence of radio and technology. The Infinite Dial 2010: Digital Platforms and the Future of Radio is based on a February, 2010 telephone survey of more than 1700 people in the United States and serves as a point of comparison to studies that Edison Research and Arbitron have been conducting since 1998.

Although radio is still very popular, with 92% of respondents saying that they listen to AM/FM radio; people are less likely to say that they are profoundly impacted by it or use it as a way to discover new music. Only 22% of those surveyed say that AM/FM radio has a “big impact” on their lives. People are much more likely to report that their cell phones (64%), broadband Internet (49%) and even satellite radio (27%) are having a big impact on their lives.

One of the most interesting (and sad) findings to me was that radio is becoming less and less of a tool for music discovery. When asked, “Among internet, television, radio and newspapers, which do you turn to first to learn about new music?”, 39% of respondents said “radio” and 31% said “Internet.” Although more people said radio, this is a huge decline from 2002, when 63% of respondents said that they turned to radio first to learn about new music. Most strikingly, among 12 to 24-year-olds, the Internet (52%) has surpassed radio (32%)  as a the first place to turn when seeking out new music.

Other interesting findings include:

-84% use/own a cell phone

-52% of those surveyed have listened to online radio

-44% of those surveyed own an iPod/digital music player

-12% use/own satellite radio

-31% said they were aware of HD radio and 3% use/own HD radio

-The use of an iPod/MP3 player has the most impact on radio listening for 12 to 34-year-olds, with 23 to 27% reporting that they spend less time listening to terrestrial radio due to the use of a digital music player

On the positive side of this, though, among young people ages 12-24, 40% said they would listen to AM/FM radio “a lot more” or “somewhat more” if they were able to access it through a cell phone radio tuner. Additionally, 51% of all respondents said they would be very disappointed if their favorite AM or FM station was no longer on the air, with 78% of respondents saying they would listen to as much AM/FM radio in the future as they currently do “despite increasing advancements in technology.”

So, although technology is nipping at terrestrial radio’s heels; there’s still room for radio to remain relevant for young people if it continues to reinvent itself and expands its reach to mobile platforms. To get more details on this study, see the full report (PDF) on the Edison website.



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2 Responses to Radio Still Relevant, Although not Necessarily for Music Discovery according to Infinite Dial Study

  1. Jessica Benbow April 12, 2010 at 1:44 pm #

    Jennifer, this is a co-authored study by Arbitron Inc. and Edison Research. Would appreciate equal credit for the study please. Jessica Benbow, Arbitron Inc.

  2. Jennifer Waits April 12, 2010 at 2:05 pm #

    Not a problem.

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