But inappropriate demo targeting is up, according to watchdog Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY). It claims that in the period between 2001 and 2006, radio spending in the beer, wine and spirits categories dropped 38%. However, 35.6% of the ads were placed on stations where the number of underage members of the audience (aged 12-20) likely topped the 30% threshold. And when members of that age group did hear such an ad, 58% of the time they were listening to a station targeted at them.
"The assumption that iPods and the Internet have displaced radio as a primary source of entertainment for young people is wrong," said CAMY’s David Jernigan. "Young people ages 12 to 17 are the most likely group to be listening from 7PM to midnight and our findings show that alcohol ads are still finding their way to too many young ears."
The 30% threshold is an industry-adopted standard. CAMY has been pushing to lower it to 15%. It is also disappointed that a bill, Sober Truth On Preventing Underage Drinking Act (or STOP Act), despite being passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush in 2006, has yet to be funded. Among other things, it would mandate studies of youth exposure to both positive and negative alcohol messages.