Will Radio Be King Again?

Before There Were TV Shows,

There Were Radio Shows!


Before there was streaming radio, movies and TV, before there were cell phones, before the World Wide Web, before DVDs and Blu-Ray, before there were cineplexes, before there was television, there was radio.

Radio was “king” from the early 1920s to the early ‘60s. Television had been introduced, this is true, but wasn’t really to become a household thing until the late ‘40s and early ‘50s. Black and White TV. I remember when my dad brought home our first TV set. A great big console TV box. It was fantastic. Although color TV started coming to the market in the mid 50s, my dad never bought one. I grew up with B&W TV.  Loved so many of the old shows. But that’s another subject.

Radio was king. Before there were TV shows, there were radio shows. Anyone remember these? The Lone Ranger, The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, The Gene Autry Show, Amos and Andy, Dragnet, Ozzie and Harriet, Superman, Gunsmoke, Perry Mason, just to name a very few.

Someone in the radio business coined the phrase, “The Theater of the Mind” to describe the radio shows. There were musicians playing behind some of the narration and acting.  There were professional sound effects people making the sounds of doors slamming, horses whinnying, clippity-clopping or running, gun shots, screams, horns honking, dogs barking, you name it. All the sounds and the voice actors made stories come to life and thousands of people gathered around radio sets to hear the radio shows.

As radio stations proliferated, there were many options for people to hear their favorite shows and music. Classical, Choral, Pop, Jazz, Soul music, and more.

Sports games were on the radio and one could tune in and hear the games live. I remember listening to the S.F. Giants games on KSFO with Russ Hodges and Lon Simmons. Dad tried to never miss a game.

Radio was still king, and I listened to the radio constantly. Pop stations. I remember much of the 40s and 50s music. As a teen in the 60s, radio was how you knew who was who who in the music biz. Then you went out and bought your favorite artists on 45 rpm records for less than a dollar.

I still love the radio. I listen to a variety of music at home. Whenever I drive, my radio is usually tuned in to the local talk radio station, or sometimes old pop or country.

Will radio be king again? It just might. Radio is still extremely popular because it is so available. How popular?

Nielson Audio reports that as of December of 2022, 236,261,000 people are listening to the radio each week – over 11 hours each week!

In an article in Talkers Magazine, Walter Sabo recently wrote, “Why is radio’s 100 years of success a revelation rather than an assumption? First, it is because radio is ubiquitous. Walk into a store, radio. Turn on the car, radio. Wake up, radio. The sound of radio has always been everywhere and continues to be everywhere. Maybe once a year I go to a gym and hear Spotify, but I have to ask an employee where that music is coming from and they are never sure! Television is not everywhere; it has to be turned on. Magazines, websites, books, direct mail have to be considered and then opened. Not ubiquitous.”

Yes, radio is everywhere. It’s in almost every car and truck. Listeners can hear their favorite music or shows without paying a dime. Radio doesn’t require any special equipment. Even with the increasing popularity of streaming radio and podcasts, good ol’ broadcast radio continues to be one of the most, if not the most widely-used mediums around the world. Three billion people around the world listen to the radio every week, many spending several hours tuned in.

Will radio be king again? Over one third of America’s population listens to the radio every week. It has been predicted that by 2025, 18-34 year olds will most likely spend more time listening to the radio than watching TV.

Right now, radio is the medium of choice for 94% of people aged 35-49. So-called “baby boomers” spend more time listening to the radio than any other generation. It doesn’t look like radio is going the way of the 8-track tape.

Will radio be king again? We believe so. All the data clearly suggests that radio is the best bang for your advertising buck. Give us a call or fill out the contact form. Let’s talk about it. 800-208-7154

Pete Miller & Sean Pearce

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