Radio Is Alive And Doing Very Well


(by Lora Lewis) Charlie Sislen led off the NJAB Conference Super Session Thursday called “The Power of Radio,” paraphrasing Mark Twain: rumors of radio’s death are somewhat premature. In fact, he argues that 2016 is radio’s golden age. Nielson VP Rich Tunkle offered proof in the form of research that radio is still the most used media, and the most effective, thanks to less fragmentation.

Tunkle said the typical consumer in one month may interact with multiple apps and 20 television channels, but only seven radio stations, making a radio advertising campaign more cost effective. Tunkle added that 80% of consumers still rely on traditional platforms for listening and said, “More millennials will engage with radio in a day than will engage with Pandora in a month.”

Tunkle also unveiled new research on ROI for six spending categories including fast food and retail. In the radio ROI study, Tunkle says telecom advertisers got $14 back for every dollar spent. Department stores did even better, pulling in $17 for every dollar spent. Home improvement was $10 to $1.

Pierre Bouvard continued radio’s good news. He said in the current audio landscape AM/FM owns 52% of all audio engagement, it has five times the reach of Pandora, and 15 times that of Spotify. Advertisers, he notes, have the wrong perception of the share radio owns. “It is still number one in media time spent throughout the day and AM/FM is still reaching 92 % of adults each week.”

Katz Radio’s Stacey Lynn Schulman agreed: “Be bullish on radio.” She also pointed out the power of radio’s massive reach, noting that Pandora and other on-demand formats have to “one-sy” and “two-sy” their way to results. Radio is measurable, credible, and accountable.


  1. Can someone please explain these “ROI” rates? If yields were 14:1, you couldn’t buy a radio ad because they’d all be sold…


  2. Yes indeed, Joel.
    I think you might agree: This, then, is a matter that requires attention – serious attention.

  3. We tried to “inform” them Ronnie but they wouldn’t listen. Most were too busy telling anybody within earshot that “ads were bad”; badmouthing ownership and management; producing ads that sounded cute but said nothing; and calling themselves on-air “talent”.

  4. How old is Charlie Sislen, how long has be been in the Radio business, and in what capacity? I don’t think he’s old enough to remember Radio’s “Golden Age”, but it sure isn’t now! Hyperbole happens.

    • On another front: Love how radio continues to compare itself as an industry against one company (Pandora), leaving all other migration to online audio out of the equation.

  5. Although I do appreciate Joel Swanson’s attitudinal position along with the fact that radio has, generally, been able to maintain, there are still some major issues.
    I read (here, in this space) a number of articles on the specifics of increasing the results of sales people – a necessary and “good thing”.
    Those tasked with ad production and on-air presentations, however, are lonely, still starving – and freezing in the dark.
    Was this group and other management, perhaps, not informed?

  6. Yes! Yes! Yes! Small Market Radio proudly proves the “Power of Radio” every day in small towns across America. The Radio wannabes like Pandora will always remain just that, “wannabes”. We just need to keep doing our “thing” with pride and passion, not reacting to the “doom and gloomers” of the radio world. As Charles Barkley says “We can’t let the #@&%$# win!”


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