(By Andrew Curran) According to the National Science Foundation, the average person has up to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 80% are negative and 95% are the same repetitive thoughts as the day before. Self-doubt, critiques, negativity up to 50,000 times per day. Of those, 45,000 will be back again tomorrow.
Research continues to show that social media platforms can increase anxiety/stress/depression, and for some, phones are becoming an addiction. Despite the ubiquity of smartphones, Nielsen’s latest Total Audience Report states that AM/FM radio maintains an advantage of 13.5 to 1 over smartphone streaming in weekly TSL. Even for true believers, it’s an astonishing level of dominance in 2018.
Enter prior research from Britain’s RAB to shine light on AM/FM’s audio dominance that’s fueled by employed persons. “On average, when consuming radio, happiness and energy scores increase by 100% and 300% compared to when no media is being consumed.”
As Boston College professor Michael Keith says, “Why else do people listen to music radio other than to get enjoyment out of it? People don’t listen to radio to be depressed; certainly not when it comes to entertainment radio or music radio. The whole idea of listening to radio is to gain companionship and, at the same time, enjoyment.”
He continues, “Radio is like ice cream — you choose the station that tastes best to you; the flavor you like the best is going to give you enjoyment.”
Anxiety about the impact of traffic delays on your schedule. Anger after being cut off by another driver. Your boss is a jerk. Your co-workers need to pull their weight.
50,000 negative thoughts per day.
During this tidal wave of negativity, along comes radio. Our heaviest users tune-in 31 times per week as we offer an enjoyable alternative to the thoughts bouncing around in their heads.
Yet with smartphone adoption now exceeding 90% among P18-49, it’s important that we explore ways to transcend the transmitter. As an industry, smart bets are being made about the future distribution and consumption of audio programming, even while a profitable business model and significant consumption remain illusive on streaming and mobile platforms.
Along those lines, best-selling author Ben Hardy offers some advice for the road ahead.
It’s Better To Be Prolific Than Perfect
“Among the 50 greatest pieces of music ever created, six belong to Mozart, five are Beethoven’s, and three Bach’s. But to create those, Mozart wrote over 600 songs, Beethoven 650, and Bach over 1,000.”
HD Radio, podcasting, and streaming represent some of the high-profile innovations championed by broadcasters. Although none have hit an economic tipping point, it’s important we are prolific in our innovation efforts without sacrificing time and resources for the AM/FM mothership.
Good Timber Does Not Grow With Ease
The largest trees in the world are the Redwoods in California. As the saying goes, “further the sky, the greater the length.”
For a redwood sapling to make it, it must become one of the tallest trees on the planet. No small feat, but it happens again and again. In a similar way, radio is up for the challenge of strengthening our dominant audio position as the mobile world continues to grow. The bigger the challenge, the bigger the opportunity to rise up and meet it.
Andrew Curran, President and COO of DMR/Interactive.