Saying Goodbye To AM Radio

In 2008, I gave a speech at the Jacobs Media Summit that was co-located with the NAB Radio Show in Austin where I called for the ‘Sunsetting’ of the AM dial.  My arguments were that there was too much radio inventory chasing too little business, that the technical deficiencies made it hard to listen to for many,  and that the best brands would migrate to the FM band if a date-certain for an AM switch-off were determined.

Later on in 2009, I reiterated my arguments in this blog post: Is It Time For AM Radio To Go Dark?  This post generated a ton of good comments but several really stuck with me – they argued that the AM Radio medium didn’t really require such intervention, that the band would continue to fizzle out on its own.

And while one must acknowledge the staying power of various AM powerhouses – especially strong-signaled stations in the largest markets – it turns out on some levels these predictions were correct. Read more

“Infinite Dial 2014″ Format Report: Country P1s More Reliant On Broadcast Radio

Somerville, New Jersey — May 29, 2014 — P1 listeners to Country radio are less likely than the national average to listen to online radio overall, and Pandora specifically. They are more interested than the average listener in keeping up-to-date with music and more likely to use radio to find out about music.

These and other key findings are from “The Infinite Dial 2014: A Look at Country P1s.” The new report is the latest in the continuing series of format breakouts from Edison Research’s influential “Infinite Dial” study, released in March of this year.

Respondents to Edison Research’s 2014 “The Infinite Dial” were asked to name the radio station they listen to most, each of which was individually coded by format. The Country breakouts are based on 146 listeners age 12 and older who named a Country outlet as their P1 station. Read more


American Usage of Leading Social Platforms, by Age

As social media usage becomes more widespread, and additional services proliferate, we are seeing some interesting and disparate usage patterns for these services across demographics. Below, we illustrate the percentage of Americans, by demographic group, who use each of the major social networking platforms. The platforms are listed in order of their overall usage (i.e., in order of the percentage of Americans 12+ who use each service, starting with Facebook at 58% overall.)

Some observations of note:

* The relative strength of Facebook across all demographics (and particularly 12-34)

* The balanced usage of LinkedIn 25-64

* The significant spike for Instagram, Snapchat and Vine amongst 12-24 year-olds

Click on each graph for a larger version–and feel free to share!

Social Platforms by Age 1

Social Platforms by Age 2

Social Platforms by Age 3


These data points were taken from The Infinite Dial 2014, from Edison Research and Triton Digital. The full study is available here, or on Slideshare.

How the Survey was Conducted: A total of 2,023 persons were interviewed to investigate Americans’ use of digital platforms and new media.  From January 13 to February 12, 2014, telephone interviews were conducted with respondents age 12 and older who were selected via Random Digit Dial (RDD) sampling. The study includes a total of 808 cell phone interviews.

Evangelical Christians and the Infinite Dial

Last week we had the privilege of presenting data from Edison Research’s Infinite Dial study at the Christian Music Broadcasters’ Chicago Non Terrestrial / Social Media Momentum Summit. It was fantastic to see a group of industry professionals devote an entire day to an aspect of the radio business that is so crucial at this moment. In fact, anyone interested in marketing to Christians should be excited about the insights that the Infinite Dial provides.

Since 1998, Edison Research has engaged in the longest-running research study of emerging digital platforms in America. Termed the “Infinite Dial”, the annual report tracks developments in Online Radio, Social Media, Digital Devices, Podcasts, and many other topics.

When fielding this year’s Infinite Dial study, we added a question especially for CMB’s Momentum, to determine whether respondents consider themselves “Born Again or Evangelical Christians.”  This presentation focuses on the 23% of Americans who are white Born Again or Evangelical Christians (for the purpose of this post we will refer to them as “Evangelicals”) and their behaviors in the digital space.

The overall Infinite Dial data shows the tremendous growth of Online Radio listening, social media usage and mobile device ownership.

Here are some key findings on Evangelicals:

The make-up of our Evangelical sample is more female than it is male. And it is also older than what you would see in a national sample.

The Evangelicals are a little behind the total population in online listening — 39% said they listened in last month vs. the 47% of the total population.

Nationally, the use of audio podcasting has reached a new high. 15% of the national population listened to podcasts in the last month. Evangelicals are also at 15%.

62% of Evangelicals said they use a social network and one-quarter of them check their social network several times per day — which is only 3% points lower than the total population. 

An estimated 160 Million people in the United States own a smartphone. That’s 61% of the total population today. Just five years ago that number was only 10%. Evangelicals are not too far behind in smartphone ownership at 55%. 

Tablet ownership nationwide has had tremendous growth in the past few years. It went from 17% in 2012 to 39% in 2014. Evangelicals are right on track with the larger population – also at 39%.

The Internet Audio pie continues to grow.  More and more Evangelicals are listening online and are reachable in new ways and in new places.

More than half of Evangelicals are using social media. This is an opportunity for brands to be closer than ever to their target consumers! In fact, now that people have direct access to brands and celebrities they very well may expect it from every service or product they care about. 

Mobile devices are rewiring behavior extremely quickly.  More and more Evangelicals will be using their phones as portable media centers. If your product is not optimized for mobile then it may as well not exist.  And we challenge you to ask: How else can you be present in the consumers’ mobile lives?

The Infinite Dial data is powerful. But after seeing the big picture let’s go back and consider what it means for each individual.

Through various qualitative projects, we’ve had the opportunity to spend countless hours interviewing radio listeners. These listeners have showed us how big a role radio can play in their lives. In some cases, listeners turn to the radio for comfort before they turn to the people around them. And, especially in Christian Radio, many listeners trust in and look to stations for guidance.

Christian Radio’s relationship with its listeners is good example of what any brand should aspire to. But they must sustain that relationship by providing the best content on and off the AM/FM dial.

And it’s clear from our data that any marketer looking to find Christians can look for them on the Infinite Dial.

Download the complete presentation below:

Evangelical Christians and the Infinite Dial