Should You Care If 15 to 19-Year-Olds Shun Radio?


So what about that recent Music Biz report? The one that prompted Forbes to run this headline: “Millennials Aren’t Very Interested In Traditional Radio Any More.” The one that concluded that a majority of Millennials are opting to stream their music rather than listen to the radio. The one that concludes 15 to 19-year-olds rely heavily on connected devices like smartphones, which accounted for 41% of their listening time. Does this report play into Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan’s hands that NextRadio is a game changer if it’s easy to use, and turn on in every phone? Or does it make you think your content isn’t as strong as it should be or, perhaps the kids don’t want to hear the clutter?

The Music Business Association study shows that 15 to 19-year-olds have embraced on-demand streaming as their format of choice. It’s now 51% of their total listening time, which is more than double the overall average of 24%, for all age groups.

The Association concluded that the win for streaming is a loss for radio. “While broadcast radio still accounts for the highest listening share among the general population at 35%, 15 to 19-year-olds reported that they spend only 12% of their time with the format, despite a weekly reach of 65% (on par with the overall average of 78%). This indicates that even though Millennials are being exposed to radio, they are not engaging with it, and on-demand streaming is making up the difference.”

It’s no surprise the kids are more connected to their smartphones. All you need to do is take a jog down any sidewalk where kids are on their way into high school. They will practically walk into you as they engage more with their device than the four friends they are walking with. So when they plug in their headphones, why isn’t it your radio station?

So why are they not engaging with radio? The report did not give any insight into that slightly important detail. If you are to believe the report, which included 3,014 respondents contacted in the month of May, what would you say the reason is? Is their local radio station too hard to find — with one touch — on their smartphone? Are they tired of all those commercials? Does it even matter that 15 to 19-year-olds are not listening as much because you know they’ll move to radio when they get into that 25-54 demo? Is there another reason?

Read the full study HERE and leave your comments in the box below.




  1. Ed,

    Do you start every day wringing your hands? There’s a prayer you should recite instead..
    ” God, grant me the Serenity………”


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