Radio Isn’t Dying, It’s Just Evolving – A Millennial’s Point of View

Jul 21, 2021 | 10:18 AM

Hey radio world, my name is Hussein and I recently graduated with a B. Comm last November. I also just started my career with my first post-graduate position as a digital specialist here at SoCast. I am also a millennial.

Starting here at SoCast, I learned right off the bat how our content management systems help radio stations around the world. Our mission is to make digital growth as easy as possible by making it easy for broadcasters to engage their audience through various digital tools and to turn this engagement into digital revenue. Now of course you must think to yourself, “Hussein you’re a millennial, you don’t listen to radio, don’t you just listen to Spotify or Apple Music or whatever pure play is today”?

Yes, I do listen to Apple Music and Spotify, but that doesn’t mean radio is declining with me or Millennials. I might have thought so coming into this position as a person with minimal radio experience, but I could not be further from the truth. I base this off articles I’ve read on the radio industry since starting here, as well as my first- hand exposure to the operations happening here at SoCast. As a digital specialist, my job is to open the eyes of broadcasters around the world to the importance of digital and its value moving forward within the radio industry.

I want to say that radio is not declining, but instead evolving. Moreover, it is shifting towards a positive trend because digital is coming into the radio world as a supplementary, instead of a substitute revenue opportunity to traditional radio. While such transitions can be daunting, they generally come with tremendous opportunity for those that choose to embrace such changes. In this case, radio broadcasters have the opportunity to grow their audiences through new channels and grow their revenue through such channels.

In my first few weeks here, my boss had me delve into online advertising to understand more about what digital really is and where it is now, compared to 5-10 years ago. According to Jasmine Enberg of eMarketer, at the quarter-way mark of 2019, “worldwide digital ad spending was expected to rise by 17.6% to $333.25 billion. This means that, for the first time, digital will account for roughly half of the global ad market”. This is where I drew my first link to the future of broadcasting. Radio broadcasters NEED to build their websites, get into mobile apps to generate higher AQH numbers through these channels, and all the while, sell digital ads from their ad partners on all these channels to generate revenue aside from traditional revenue.

The future of radio is not traditional or digital, it really is TRADIGITAL; using both traditional and digital channels to influence each other with the end goal of driving traditional and digital revenue upwards. How else can stations expect to keep their listeners tuned in when more and more are starting to access radio through their phones? Joseph Palenchar’s findings state that “people are listening more on cell phones, with 73 percent using a smartphone, up from the previous survey’s 66 percent”. This, coupled with the fact that age groups you would not expect to still be tuning into radio, still being active within radio, shows that radio stations need to adapt to effective digital strategies to not only stay competitive but bring their operations to the next level. Radio Ink states, “91% of teens (12-17) and 94% of 18- 34-year-olds are still tuning into radio monthly”. Now what we have to look at, is what does all of this mean?

Well, this is where I want to take a moment to say, I have officially realized radio is not dead, but instead quite the opposite, it is alive and well. This is why: If you have listenership, you can monetize it. Through engaging your audience via digital channels aside from “just their car”, you can generate higher AQH numbers, which subsequently increase the value of your on-air spots as well as online owned and operated ad inventory. This is all possible because the above evidence proves that listeners are still tuning into radio and now, through various digital channels. Digital revenue is thus, ripe for the taking for broadcasters. Furthermore, just remember this is coming from a millennial himself. So the next time you want to think radio is dying, take a chance to explore newer digital revenue opportunities, and acknowledge that radio is not declining, but instead evolving into a whole other world of possibilities.


1. Enberg, J. (2019, March 28). Global Digital Ad Spending 2019. Retrieved from https://www.emarketer.com/content/global-digital-ad-spending-2019

2. Palenchar, J. (2015, March 12). Online Radio Listening Up In-Home, Car, On The Go. Retrieved from https://www.twice.com/research/online-radio-listening-home-car-go-56373

3. Radio Ink Daily Headlines. (2019, November 14). Teens Still Tuning Into Radio. Retrieved from https://radioink.com/2019/11/14/teens-still-tuning-to-radio/