Why Advertisers Need Radio’s Influencers


Advertisers be aware: despite an infinite amount of social media influencers, a series of new studies show that AM/FM personalities remain some of the most trusted influencers in all of media. The strong connection, emotional appeal, and advertiser effectiveness of air talent and podcasters are highlighted in this week’s Cumulus Media/Westwood One Audio Active Group blog.

According to the Jacobs Media Techsurvey 2023, 60% of AM/FM radio listeners cited “DJs/Hosts/Shows” as their number one reason for tuning in, outranking favorite songs and music.

A Maru/Matchbox study revealed that AM/FM listeners develop loyal relationships with personalities based on humor and trust. The study found that 90% of respondents strongly or somewhat agreed that their favorite DJs made them laugh, while 73% believed personalities understood what made their city or town unique. The study also showed that 64% of listeners agreed that personalities made them think, and 52% considered them to be like friends or family, with 64% indicating they would follow their favorite DJs to another station.

On the digital audio side, MAGNA Media Trials and Vox Media discovered that podcast hosts held greater influence than social media influencers or TV/movie celebrities among 75% of weekly podcast listeners. Podcast hosts were perceived as conveying trust and authenticity while providing valuable insights and knowledge. Meanwhile, MRI-Simmons found that 79% of listeners felt close to podcast hosts, with 80% indicating that hosts felt like friends.

Nielsen’s study indicated that ads delivered by audio hosts garnered more attention from 44% of AM/FM radio listeners and 56% of podcast listeners, reinforcing the effectiveness of ads delivered by these personalities.

These studies demonstrate that both radio personalities and podcasters still have a strong influence on listeners. Built on trust, locality, and humor, they foster loyal relationships and are perceived as trusted friends or family members. Savvy advertisers can benefit from finding their perfect personality partnership to leverage their reach, influence, and ability to capture listeners’ attention.


  1. One tweet by an influencer that has one million / more followers helped my company move A LOT of product fast.

    One radio personality, on one station, in one city did hardly anything. Based on reach, frequency, and daypart, radio was much too expensive by comparison.

    Unless a company has a very good margin on its product, like automotive, jewelry, home repair, medical, or insurance, radio is not affordable for a small business operating on thin margins.

    One location local restaurant.

    Radio is good for a grand opening announcement to that community / local area, but not for consistent branding.
    With so many choices on the radio dial, it takes a very high frequency to reach the needed traffic to cover the cost.


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