989 people out of 1,000 listen to radio

Regular readers know I’m a fan of Mark Ramsey’s blog, Hear 2.0. Mark is the president of San Diego-based Mercury Radio Research, which recently conducted a 1,000-person national study of radio listening habits of people ages 12 through 54. Just 11 people said they didn’t listen to radio.

Mark spoke at one of the sessions at the NAB Radio Show, underway this week in Dallas and the Dallas Morning News covered:

“One of the key things that makes radio different from all these others (iPods, satellite radio, Internet radio, etc) and makes it stand out, and valuable, is the fact that there’s stuff between the songs that people value. In fact, the loyalty to the stations, preference for those stations, is driven very much by what’s between those songs. It’s about connecting with other people.”

Here’s Mark’s take on commercials:

“…there’s one group that hates commercials and another that can tolerate them. The issue with commercials seems to be, ‘Look, if you’re a zealot about commercials, well, of course you’re going to listen to an iPod.’ People inherently understand that commercials are a tax that you pay. The issue for radio is whether we demonstrate to them what that tax is buying them. … ‘Are we giving people something that’s worth the price they’re paying in commercials?’

That wasn’t such a scary question when there were no alternatives to the radio.

Note to self: Record a couple of hours of morning drive on one of the local radio stations and edit out everyhing except the “stuff between the songs that people value.”

Comment from Jim M:

“It seems to me the ratio between commercial time and music / content is way out of whack compared to what it used to be. I wonder if there are some statistics on how this ratio has evolved over time? I was thinking about this today, again, when a drive to the store and back treated me to 100% advertising. I like commercial radio for the fact that I can pick up on new music and the variety, but finding music these days seems to be truly hit and miss.”

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