Myth Debunked. Young People Do Listen to Radio


We know the Gen Z generation does everything on their mobile device. They were practically born with one. That includes listening to audio. And data released by Edison Research this week shoots down the theory that kids don’t listen to the radio.

Edison says that radio’s reach with “Gen Z” (those between the ages of 13 and 24) is high (55%). Megan Vartan, Director of Research at Edison Research and Jayne Charneski, founder of Front Row Insights & Strategy, presented the “Radio’s Roadmap to Gen Z Listenership” webinar Thursday.

That 55% of the 13-24 year-old generation that radio reaches daily (according to Edison’s Share of Ear) is more than straming reaches, which is 53%.

Vartan says perhaps the fact that Gen Z listens to any  AM/FM radio is a surprise. “Many people believe that no young people ever listen to the radio any more. This is simply not true. Especially when they are in their cars, but even in other places – young people do listen to the radio.”

Qualitative interviews with Gen Z radio listeners found some of the reasons they enjoy radio:
— radio provides a human connection, particularly during quarantine
–radio offers the surprise of songs that have not been curated in streaming playlists
–radio is a source for additional information about music and artists
–radio is a source for news and information
–radio is associated with nostalgia and good memories


  1. Then why are Advertisers abandoning radio product? Joe Rogan, in one episode, can present interesting, compelling content to 2-5 million people, the size of many medium markets. And he does it without “stopping what he does”…. meaning, he never stops creating content. Radio has to still stop for 15 minutes an hour, do boring traffic and weather, which is commonly available on phones and it relies on mostly non-interesting personalities who give you artist info (no one cares) and then tells you to get more info on the station website. Advertisers are bored, in fact, so bored the they are moving their money. Countless survey’s about how “radio” serves more people, bla bla, and the money just keeps moving away. Why? It can’t stand up next to personality-driven content (podcasting)…Ironic because that used to Radio’s signature. They gave it up. Wonder why all of these consultants are more excited about podcasts and developing podcast personalities? Radio is boring.

  2. Again and again, we see that claims of the imminent demise of broadcast radio is just a fantasy. The majority of young Gen Z’ers still readily listen to local radio.

    Even if these young people sometimes listen to it on their smartphones, local broadcast radio still serves a need that pure-play audio streaming services like Spotify cannot provide.


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