Much like television being an outdated term for video, radio is outdating itself and should really be called Audio or Audio/Music and Entertainment. Music services such as Spotify and Pandora have changed how listeners consume music, talk shows and sports that used to be limited to the dial on your radio. Mp3 players, Sirius/XM satellite radio, smartphones streaming music, public radio and other sources are threatening the very existence of the traditional radio station that survive by selling :30 and :60 second ads.
Radio stations in major markets still have loyalty from an aging audience and some have DJs and/or show hosts that keep listeners tuning in regardless of the alternatives. Smaller markets may have more loyalty to their local ‘unrated’ stations just as they still enjoy their community newspapers. But to solely focus on the traditional radio station buy, even when targeting commuters while driving, is missing a significant part of the market.
We subscribe to Nielsen Audio ratings (they purchased Arbitron) and utilize other third-party resources to research all of the audio options for our clients. They include radio, computers, tablets, smartphones and everything else mentioned above.
Even the traditional :30 second spot is simply one option of many – audio and visual ads on Pandora, satellite radio show sponsorships, public radio underwriting, news/traffic, etc., are all options we consider during our planning process.