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Thursday, May 26, 2011
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Listening to Radio on Mobile

You can't open a radio industry trade publication today without seeing a mention of listening to radio on a hand held device, more commonly referred to as "cell phones," "mobile" or "smartphones."

It's good that this form of listening to radio is receiving more attention because there's been a giant leap in the number of people who are tuning in this way, according to the latest survey of internet radio's audience from Audio Graphics and Borrell Associates.

"...these answers come from the only continuously running survey of online radio listeners..." Let's set the stage on this. It needs to be said that Audio Graphics launched the world's first survey of online radio's audience back in 2002, and it remains the only continuously running survey of people who are actively listening to radio online.

As for the numbers, the following question was asked in late 2009 and again between February and May 2011: "If you own a Hand Held device, do you listen to Internet Radio on it?" Here are the percentages of respondents who said "yes."

2009 2011 Growth
18-24 31.25% 51.06% 63.39%
25-34 30.77% 43.12% 40.14%
35-44 32.79% 42.75% 30.38%
45-49 22.22% 31.82% 43.20%
50-54 17.46% 33.81% 93.64%
55+ 14.12% 17.01% 20.47%

Here's another way to view this:

"If you own a Hand Held device, do you listen to Internet Radio on it?"

Keep in mind that these answers come from the only continuously running survey of online radio listeners, which helps drive credibility of answers. Respondents are already listening to radio online, and not lumped into a group of people who are being asked a hypothetical question.

I'll have a more detailed report next week which includes the answers to two other questions asked in our 52nd survey of 1,028 persons: 1) Have you made an online purchase in the last 30 days? 2) If Yes - of what value? (Response for the latter question: 40.7% purchased a product valued at over $100.)

The radio industry needs to seriously consider what it is offering the public today. It can no longer afford to talk about what radio is "going to do."

Now I'd like to ask a couple of questions, and the answers will be telling - especially if you attended the radio sessions at the latest NAB in Las Vegas. Are you seeing anything being done that represents "action" within the radio industry? Besides charging into social media or the latest coupon-craze (with little data to support either as a correct move), what do you see at your radio station which shows that the radio industry is using new media to the same degree as its audience?

If the past represents radio's future, it'll to be hard to say anything except "we're still exploring the possibilities."

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