Study: US Women Still Love Their AM/FM Over Spotify and Netflix


    Even with the growth of digital platforms, over-the-air radio holds a unique position in the hearts of US women, with AM/FM proving more popular in some cases than brands like Amazon, Netflix, and Spotify in emotional engagement.

    Alan Burns & Associates has released its latest insights into the media consumption preferences and behaviors of American women as part of the ongoing “What Women Want” series initiated in 2010.

    The 2024 edition, conducted in partnership with the Cumulus Media/Westwood One Audio Active Group, involved a comprehensive survey of 1,001 US women aged 15-64 between September 28 and October 6, 2023, using the MARU/Matchbox platform. “What Women Want” also integrates data from multiple industry sources including Nielsen ratings, Edison’s “Share of Ear,” Katz Media, and Jacobs Media’s Techsurvey 2024.

    The research underscores a significant affinity among women for AM/FM radio, often equating the importance of their favorite stations to that of their smartphones, and ranking it higher than platforms such as Amazon, Netflix, Apple, Spotify, and TikTok. This emotional connection presents a powerful opportunity for brands to leverage through targeted advertising.

    However, that number plummets by more than half when considering AM/FM radio in general, a perplexing statistic that belies a weakness in the medium’s overall perception.

    What Women Want

    With the rise of remote work, there has been a noticeable shift in media consumption habits. Women are spending less time commuting, which traditionally provided prime listening time. As a result, streaming has gained prominence, reflecting the need for radio programming to adapt to at-home contexts and flexible listening schedules. This includes stations marketing their streaming options more effectively.

    With AM/FM radio reaching nearly 90% of women monthly, keeping or adding radio in a strategic ad mix that includes podcasts and music streaming services along with traditional radio can optimize campaign outreach.

    Personalities on AM/FM radio play a pivotal role in attracting female listeners. The study indicates that two-thirds of women cite radio hosts as the primary reason they tune in, underscoring the importance of personalities in creating loyal and engaged audiences. When it comes to topics that keep women listening, funny or unusual real life stories narrowly take the number one spot over news and current events. Entertainment and pop culture takes a distant third.

    Content Women Want By Age

    The study reveals that current radio programming often does not align well with women’s key life priorities – namely family, health, and relationships. This misalignment suggests an opportunity for stations to revise their content strategies to more closely reflect the interests and concerns of their female audience.

    Another notable detractor from radio listening pleasure is the prevalence of ads. Many women report that the volume and intrusiveness of commercials lead them to listen less, highlighting the need for stations to rethink their advertising strategies to maintain listener engagement.

    By adhering to these insights and strategies, both broadcasters and advertisers can significantly enhance their relevance and impact among female audiences, a vibrant community for AM/FM radio.


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