The Decline Of The Home Radio

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    Edison Research and Triton Digital will be presenting their annual Infinite Dial data on March 19. On Tuesday, they leaked out a tidbit of information concerning radio.

    According to the 2020 data, 68% of all Americans say they have at least one radio in their home. The average home now has 1.5 radios, down from double that number in 2008.

    The radio industry is hoping consumers are using their smart speakers to listen to radio as technology evolves and radio’s for the home become harder to find and purchase.

    Perhaps the new Infinite Dial research will shed more light on whether consumers actually are using Amazon and Google devices to tune into their local radio stations.

    The Infinite Dial research for the past 12 years shows how the radio has been declining in the home. “In 2008 only 4% of Americans reported having no radio in their home, as compared to 32% today.”

    10 COMMENTS

    1. Thanks to Rick for bringing up a good point. There was a time when radios where everywhere. I got an electric drill with-an AM/FM radio in it. Toolboxes. Toasters (yes). Rocket shaped, animal shaped, Campbell’s Soup can radios. Boomboxes. I would guess many of them are in an attic, basement, box somewhere. The real issue isn’t that the number of radios in a home are diminishing. The utility of a radio receiver in the home is the problem. Internet goes? You still have radio. Power goes? You still have radio. Earthquake? Tornado? Snowstorm? You still have radio. The issue is without a doubt the content on your radio. AM radio? Late nights you have “Coast To Coast” with George Noury, or “Red-Eye Radio” on Westwood One. Both might be interesting, but are they compelling? Overnight music stations are jukeboxes with commercials. Spotify and other pureplays are -jukeboxes. Many of those with NO commercials. A radio executive recently took the “jock” off of one of his station’s night shifts. Why have the expense when no one is listening? Better to ask, is no one listening because there’s no one to relate to them? Wolfman Jack, Barney Pip, Dick Biondi, Joey Reynolds, Greaseman, Cousin Brucie…the late night hosts on some of the greatest radio stations in the country were BIG audience getters. The era of wondering “what will they say next” is gone…but not forgotten. The pureplays won’t elicit those emotions. Broadcast radio can, no matter how you listen. McDonald’s has competition. KFC has competition. Disney parks have competition. Each of these company’s products has strong marketing with compelling advantages for the customer. Radio’s got….pretty much none. The biggest radio company in the country is promoting podcasts and awards right now. AM/FM is still convenient, available everywhere and could be used as such if the consumer sees compelling reasons to listen. Edison’s research seems to be pointing out a problem for radio. A BIG problem. Perception is reality, and the reality among 68% of the respondents is that they don’t have radio! Whether they do or not, they don’t think they do. It’s time to fix that, isn’t it?

    2. Not having at least 1 radio in your home during for an emergency is reckless in my opinion. During times of natural disasters, radio always comes through providing us with vital information that could help save your life. Internet Radio requires all the complex internet infrastructure to keep it running, which even in smaller scale localized disasters can fail.

    3. I work with broadcasting equipment and rebuild many pieces. Having an AM FM “Hi-Fi” receiver with EQ and large speakers has been something I have owned for decades. I have worn out many and go buy another. I still have my boomboxes from the 80s. If the station is caring about how they setup their airchains FM radio can easily beat the overall quality in sound of XM and other compressed radio formats. I was not aware that radios were becoming hard to find or purchase. Also ebay sells allot of retro 70s and 80s gear. Broadcasting stations are still in full swing so I would clearly think manufacturers would still be making tuners of various forms otherwise the stations wouldn’t have any purpose.

      • I live in south Texas. The search for a simple NEW boom box is difficult. Used are very sketchy and some don’t have the AM band. It’s Sad.

    4. So, what are they saying – Bunny ears are dead?
      I still have my home stereo (AM/FM), but I won’t listen to it unless I am trolling for things to criticize – of which there are many.
      Plus, it does become a frustrating exercise.

    5. More Radios now than in 2008? Does Edison really want you to know? When we moved an FM brand to an AM last year we did some research of our own. I personally have 4 radios at home with both FM and AM capability. We went out in search of radios the consumer could buy. It’s been a very long time I was out and about looking for a radio. We literally took a Friday thru Sunday and had really bad luck. Unless you are buying a surround sound, nothing. Some didn’t even have the AM band. The station is also on an HD signal but couldn’t fine anything with HD either, unless it’s a car radio. Not many options with a tuner available in stores. I believe this is one of the biggest reasons for the decline. Manufacturers are literally killing availability. You can find more options online like BestBuy, WalMart, etc. eBay has a lot of risky used options as well. I have had my radios for at least 25 to 30 years and they are still kickin. Just dust them off once in a while and the will last you a long time.

      If I was a multimillion corporation I would do research to keep convincing you to continue to buy my services. I do believe in research and statistics. It’s a tool that needs to be approached with common sense and gut.

    6. Yes, what about stereo systems with built-in tuners? Every home I have been in has an “entertainment system.” I think those numbers are misleading or way off the mark.

    7. It depends on what you consider a radio. There are over 130 million smart speakers in use right now. I listen to local radio on my laptop. Shouldn’t they also count as home radios? Or are we restricting it to certain types of radios?

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