Radio Advertising by the Numbers: an Illustration

Last updated by Stephanie Theisen

When meeting with new clients, we often get to a point in the conversation where they ask our marketing team about "the numbers." Data. Stats. Hard facts. And, rightfully so! All businesses or companies considering any avenue of marketing or advertising should ask the question, how will I measure the effectiveness of this investment? How many people are listening to your radio stations - or to any station for that matter? With that in mind, I tasked my team to keep a running list of the numbers and specifics of the industry they most commonly reference or seek out for our clients.

Here's a visual representation of some of the most important data in radio advertising. 



Reach? Radio is King

Above and beyond any other inquiry we get on radio's behalf is questioning its relevancy.

Clients will say things like, I know I listen to radio every day, but does that mean other people do too? Bingo. You bet. The data backs that assumption up in a big way. 93 percent of Americans listen to AM/FM radio over the airwaves each week. This is higher than TV viewership (88 percent), smartphone use (83 percent), computer use (50 percent), or tablet use (37 percent). Is radio still relevant? The numbers speak for themselves. An astonishing 243 million Americans listen to the radio each month. That's huge - and a huge opportunity for our ad clients to capitalize on.


Smart Spend

Who wants to talk about that B-word? 

Budget. There, I said it. It's not a dirty word or something to skirt around, yet we know it's often the single biggest topic our radio advertising clients want to talk about. Most importantly, clients want to know they're spending their budget on initiatives and efforts that will prove some return on investment and prove worthwhile. 

Radio advertising is effective because Leighton Broadcasting has a method we follow for all ad partners. Any advertising initiative started without a defined goal is going to end up costing you a lot of money – and produce low results, regardless of how much money you invest. Simply running radio ads isn’t enough – there needs to be a purpose behind them. Spend your money on a strategy and process for implementation including strategic messaging, consistency, and frequency. 


Branding at its Best

We've written plenty about the power of sound and audio when it comes to branding. A few years ago, I was doing research and found an article published by the CBC-Radio Canada. Myself, I'm an audiophile which is why I've devoted my career to the one industry powered by music. But I was looking for more than my own truth. I wanted to learn more about what it is about sound. Here's a brief synopsis of that article called Sonic Magic: The Wonder and Science of Sound:

Music: Emotional Contagion and Episodic Memory

"What is it exactly about music that allows it to evoke emotion, unlike any other sense? Listening to music, our pupils dilate and our pulse and blood pressure rise. Music activates large areas of the brain including the auditory, motor and limbic system. Researchers have demonstrated that music actually triggers the brain to release dopamine, the feel-good chemical, into parts of the brain that have been associated with the response to pleasurable stimuli. You could almost say that music is the completely natural drug of happiness.

That last line. "You could almost say that music is the completely natural drug of happiness." Yes. That single phrase has stuck with me since I first read it. What does Sonic Magic have to do with radio branding? It's simple. When people listen to music and the radio, they're in a natural state of comfort, ease, familiarity. There's that dopamine trigger at work and often episodes of nostalgia are at play. When businesses choose this medium for branding, they're tapping into all that (powerful) goodness

Considering Buying Radio? Here's What You Need to Know