Radio has been there for decades; before the advent of televisions, radio was the only source of entertainment for most people. However, even after television was introduced, the importance of radio didn’t get less. Recall any teen movie from the 1980s or 90s; you will remember at least one scene where the characters are singing along to the songs on the radio while driving a car.
The relationship between radio and music has a long history; however, one must think that the way of listening to music has changed today. Today, people run towards digital music streaming services like SoundCloud and Spotify. Some may even believe that the radio era has come to an end. But the truth is that radio is still there and is doing better than ever.
Reasons Why Radio is Still Popular
Even in the era of the internet and television, radio holds its place as the most popular media form in the US. From people aged 18 to 50, radio reaches about 90% of the population.
Even if a modern house doesn’t have a radio, there are still some other means of tuning in to a local radio station, for example, mobile phones. In fact, accessing the radio stations is a lot easier than ever; you can simply install an app listen to your favorite radio stations. Either you are a stay-at-home person or a traveler, radio allows you to listen to your favorite stations with just a click. There are several reasons why radio has not lost its charm in the 21st century, some of which are explained below:
1. Its inclusiveness
According to a survey, in 2020, the average reach of USA-based radio stations among adults remained around 82.5%. According to the same study, an average USA adult listens to the radio for around 99 minutes a day, with much of the time that is spent while commuting. Due to the diverse variety of stations, different audiences with different tastes and age groups are attracted to the radio. This is why everyone aged 18 to 50 still enjoys listening to the radio.
The easy format of the radio allows larger audiences to access the generalized content. It is also easier because there are no long-form narratives or story arcs, allowing the listeners to enter or leave without missing important stuff.
Radio jockeys and presenters also play a significant role in attracting the audience, as they are more like friends to the listeners instead of being just a host. People feel at ease while listening to them, and many people tune in to the radio to listen to the hosts.
2. Radio Adapts According to the Trends and Technologies
With the ever-changing advancements in technology, it is quite hard for electronic media to keep up with consumer trends. However, regardless of strong competition with television and the internet, radio has been doing better than thought. While everyone thought that the radio era would end with the advent of smartphones and computers, it was shocking to see that radio made its place in the very devices that had the stamina to bring an end to it. Today, every phone, computer, or smart speaker has a built-in and easily accessible radio in it.
Being an audio-only medium, radio allows its consumers to listen to it while completing other tasks. You don’t need to take out time to listen to the radio because, unlike television, it doesn’t require full attention; all you need to do is listen.
3. The Portability
We must accept that we all are suckers for portable devices and entertainment mediums – and radio is one of them, along with being easily accessible.
4. It Doesn’t Cost Anything
Unlike other entertainment and information sources, such as television and the internet, you do not need to pay any subscription fee to access radio stations. Radio is advertiser-funded, which makes it a free media service.
Of course, there are several digital platforms for podcasts and music; however, all of them require their consumers to buy a monthly subscription. So, radio is like a holy grail for the people who want to access entertainment without spending money.
Music Streaming and Radio
The ways of listening to music may have changed with the advancement of technologies; however, the connection between music and radio stays the same. Before the advent of the internet or other devices that allowed people to listen to music, the radio was the only way out.
After the arrival of the radio, people could listen to their favorite music or host at home without being physically present at a concert or show. Even today, most people discover new music through radio instead of other means of entertainment. Throughout the years, radio might have lost a number of consumers to advanced media, but it is evident that the relationship of radio with music streaming never ended.
Even today, we see people listening to music and songs while driving or students listening to some radio streaming while studying a hard subject, and it shows how much influence radio has had in everyone’s life. Generation Z might be the ones who prefer digital streaming over the radio, but the boomers are still stuck on the charisma of radio.
Radio survived in the age of Vinyl records and television, and we are pretty sure that it will survive the age of the internet too. Along with being a perfect source of entertainment, radio has always proved to be the best way of marketing and advertising. It allows the advertisers to gain organic publicity without letting the consumers be bored of the ads.
Radio is not just another source of entertainment but an important part of a classic household. It is a legacy of our elders who enjoyed and danced to the songs played on radio stations. We might not know how it feels to lounge in a car with friends listening to the radio and dancing to the beats, but we do know how it feels to go for a walk while listening to a local radio station and smiling at the jokes the hosts make.