The Dangers of Abandoning AM/FM Radio

Written By

Liz Iversen

Published On

Thursday, May 28

A case study commissioned by Cumulus Media/Westwood One reveals that pulling AM/FM radio out of an advertiser’s media plan can have negative consequences. 

According to the case study, a relatively new brand began investing heavily in AM/FM radio in 2017 and saw immediate results. “Brand equity grew. Usage shot up. It was a huge success story.”

The successful AM/FM advertiser decided to drop AM/FM radio from its media mix in 2019 and double down on TV. This decision ultimately proved to be a mistake, and here’s why:

The majority (73%) of the brand’s category users consist of adults 18-49, a good match for AM/FM radio because their AM/FM radio campaign impressions skewed 18-49. 

When they switched to TV, 64% of their TV impressions occurred in adults 50+. Only 36% of the TV ads reached adults 18-49. 

“Brand equity suffered greatly down the entire purchase funnel with double-digit losses,” Pierre Bouvard, Chief Insights Officer at Cumulus Media/Westwood One wrote. Detailed results of the study can be found on Westwood One’s blog.

The study demonstrates that heavy AM/FM listeners are key to brand growth. When formulating a media plan, AM/FM radio should be optimized for its power to reach younger audiences, build brand image, and drive usage. For help formulating your AM/FM media strategy, contact SMI today.

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