Old retro radio on table with vintage green eye light background

Wait: So Many Teens DO Age into Radio Listeners. Maybe the Stories of Future Doom Aren’t True.

If there’s one thing that keeps radio broadcasters up at night it’s what to do about the next generation. Conventional wisdom says that digital kids, those who have never known a world without the Internet, smart phones, tablets, social media and instant access to everything, says that they’ll never be interested in radio, a one-way medium that offers no customization. When the current crop of radio listeners dies off, what will be left for the industry?

Hold on. Maybe things aren’t so dire after all.

According to new data collected by Nielsen, it seems that digital teens grow into radio listeners once they enter the workforce. It’s counter to virtually every argument we broadcasters have heard from those who maintain that radio is already dead. But maybe not.

If you’re an 18-to-24 year-old Generation Z or younger Millennial consumer now, this evolution happened during your teenage years. So how has adulthood changed the way this group listens to the radio—the medium with the biggest national reach?

Back in spring of 2011, consumers 12-17 spent an average of 9 hours and 15 minutes with radio each week—not internet radio; not satellite radio; just good old AM/FM radio. Fast forward six years later, and these same consumers (now 18-to-24-year olds)  spend an average of 10 hours and 15 minutes with radio each week. In other words, when teens grow up, they spend more time listening to the radio.

How can this be?

This is really worth reading. Keep going.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38441 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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