Think radio stinks? You’re not alone

PlugyourearsIt doesn’t take a team of researchers to tell you that radio has gotten worse. You already know that.

But two independent studies released this week confirmed that listeners aren’t as happy as they used to be with what they’re hearing on AM and FM.

In an online survey of nearly 1,000 adults between the ages of 18 and 64, 53 percent agreed with the statement: “Radio isn’t as good as it used to be.” The most strongly negative response — 61 percent — came from respondents between 18 and 34, researcher Mark Kassof reported. That’s precisely the demographic radio needs to capture if it hopes to remain vital and relevant.

Is it any wonder? Since the Telecommunications Act of 1996 ushered in rampant consolidation, radio has lost its way. Competition and creativity were replaced by cost-cutting and voice-tracking. Too many commercials and not enough local talent. It’s all on the cheap.

Technology is taking a toll, too: Streaming audio and on-demand services offer greater choice, higher quality digital reception, and full information on artists and song titles. And they give users the ability to skip past songs they don’t like. Does your radio station do that?

Another survey of more than 3,000 listeners, commissioned by Pandora, Spotify and TuneIn, and released this week by Edison Research, showed that for the first time in history, Internet radio is used by a majority of online Americans — 53 percent.

“The data clearly shows that Internet radio is not only a mainstream activity for the majority of online Americans, it’s also essentially expanding the pie for audio media,” said Larry Rosin, president of Edison Research. “The advent of mobile listening, and the proliferation of choices for the types of Internet audio have transformed the medium from niche activity to major media channel in under ten years.”

Terrestrial radio dinosaurs, are you listening?