Four Massive Benefits of AM/FM Radio

Written By

Liz Iversen

Published On

Wednesday, Jul 20
Three women dancing in their living room with a radio.

A marketing email from SiriusXM recently asked subscribers, “Why waste your time with AM/FM radio?” At SMI, we agree that SiriusXM is a powerful tool, and we use it for many of our audio campaigns. But AM/FM radio should not be disregarded. Here are four reasons why.

It’s free

Why pay for satellite radio when broadcast listeners can tune in for free? Cost is a key differentiator between broadcast and satellite radio. As the RAB pointed out, “Radio is free. Always has been, always will be.”

Massive reach

Radio reaches 93% of adults every month compared to satellite radio, which reaches only 13%, according to Nielsen’s Audio Today Report, June 2022.

Advertise on radio and you can count on reaching 218M people 18+ weekly. SiriusXM’s 34M subscribers pales in comparison. (Sources: Nielsen, RADAR 153, June 2022; SXM Q1 2022 Results)

Local business opportunity

For local businesses, local AM/FM radio is an important tool for getting your message out, versus SiriusXM, which only advertises national brands.

Local news, hosts, and information that is relevant to you

“If you advertise only on SiriusXM, you’re missing out on an audience that not only listens to local news and sports and their favorite local personalities that they’ve been listening to for years, but they have trust in them and their advertisers,” said Bob Leonard, SMI’s Director of Client Development. And that audience is growing.

As Inside Radio recently reported, Americans’ engagement with the news across multiple media (cable news, online news, and social media apps) fell dramatically during the first half of 2022 due to news fatigue. But local news radio is “bucking the trend,” according to Bill Smee, Audacy’s Washington, DC-based VP of News. 

When news listenership is falling across so many channels, why are news audiences turning to AM/FM radio? As the RAB said, “Radio is essential to consumers and communities. Time after time, when disaster strikes, radio stations are ‘on the ground’ and often the first and only source to provide timely information and provide the support to the communities it serves.” Additionally, broadcast radio stations are required by law to operate in the public interest. “This is simply the foundation,” said the RAB. “Radio stations go well beyond what is required to unite audiences around common interests and social and community values.”

In response to SiriusXM’s ad, Pam Wolfgram, one of SMI’s Senior Media Buyers, said, “SXM appeals to a niche audience; it is an integral part of all our audio campaigns for a reason. It is one important part of the scaffolding. At the end of the day, research – as well as our results – repeatedly confirms that listeners turn to their local radio channels for information relevant to their daily lives, and that marketers value the reach and frequency that only AM/FM radio can provide. Without AM/FM radio, offline advertisers would be missing a tremendous profit opportunity that helps grow their business and their brand.” 

For these reasons and more, broadcast radio remains an integral part of American society and an important medium for reaching consumers. Want to learn more about what AM/FM radio can do for you? Contact SMI today.

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