How AM Radio Is Shaping The Sound of Politics In 2024


    With Biden and Trump pouring millions into radio to reach voters, platforms that some have considered niche, like AM or Hispanic radio, and their audiences have considerable political power in deciding the future of the US.

    Last week, Radio Ink talked with Nueva Network CEO Jose Villafañe about the heightened importance of Hispanic radio in the 2024 election cycle following an interview with President Joe Biden on Nueva’s El Genio Lucas. That same day the President talked to Alex Lucas, former President Donald Trump called into WABC’s Sid & Friends with Sid Rosenberg.

    With seven months until Election Day, today we talk with WABC President Chad Lopez about the power and profitability that AM stations can tap into during this political cycle.

    Radio Ink: What specific importance is AM radio playing in this election?

    Chad Lopez: AM is a long form medium where issues can be thoroughly debated to the find the truths. This is important in an election year. AM Radio also has a long history of being the authority for News & Talk radio. It’s the village square where people gather to debate important issues. Politicians know the strength of AM Radio and it’s personalities and how a good interview can move their election needle.

    Radio Ink: Both Trump and Biden are making radio stops a priority, especially against other mediums – why do you think that is?

    Chad Lopez
    Chad Lopez

    Chad Lopez: Smart politicians know that winning the local battles equals winning the election. Radio reaches 93% of the country, yet it’s a very local medium. Both Biden and Trump know this election is a battle for hearts and minds, and as Radio is “Theater of the Mind” driven by local trusted talent, they know it’s an effective way to get votes.

    Radio Ink: What response do you see from the community to candidate outreach on your station?

    Chad Lopez: WABC Radio is a heritage trusted brand that has held debates for all levels of government, from Mayor, Governor and US Congress. For both incumbents and unknown candidates, 77WABC is an important stop as our audience is trusting of us and a solid block of educated, affluent voters. When they appear and do well, they see an increase in donations, volunteers and popularity.

    Radio Ink: Do you expect this behavior and the use of radio as a platform by major candidates to hold, increase, or decrease the closer we get to the election?

    Chad Lopez: It will increase. Radio is cost effective for candidates to both advertise and to appear on editorially. It’s the broadest of broadcasting with the widest net.  Because of these efficiencies in reaching voters, demand for time on the station, both placed advertisements and interviews, is and will dramatically increase.

    Radio Ink: Is this attention translating into revenue for you, political and otherwise?

    Chad Lopez: Yes. Candidates spend – that is a simple yet meaningful increase in our revenue AND when we host debates and have thoughtful long form issue discussions, our ratings go up. Higher ratings equal more confidence with advertising agencies and better results for our advertisers, which increase the demand for the station.


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