USA Today reports on radio renaissance


In a departure from the frequent media reports that AM and FM stations are being wiped out by the proliferation of new audio sources, USA Today’s Money section on Tuesday (3/22) carried the headline: “In a renaissance for radio, more listeners are tuning in.”

The article by veteran media writer David Lieberman noted that the weekly audience for radio was up by 2.1 million people in 2010. That was from data compiled by Arbitron for its release of the RADAR 108 National Radio Listening Report.

The USA Today article is not all positive, noting Edison Research findings that teens and young adults have reduced radio listening as they’ve increasingly used the Internet, cell phones and video games.

But the article quoted Howard Bass, senior media and entertainment partner at Ernst & Young, as crediting radio’s ability to quickly adapt to local tastes for the medium’s resilience. He also noted the rapid expansion of US radio stations serving the growing Hispanic population.

As you would expect, Lieberman’s article included prominent mention of the $2.4 billion deal by Cumulus Media to acquire Citadel Broadcasting – “the biggest radio deal in years.”

RBR-TVBR observation: The reports of the death of radio have been exaggerated, but frequent. Over the decades it has been killed by: movies, television, 8-track tape players, cassette tape players, CD players, satellite radio, iPods/MP3 players and the Internet. So radio appears to have nine lives, just like a cat – except that killer #9 will come along and we’d bet radio will survive yet again.