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Research Shows AM/FM Radio To Be A Perfect Promotional Vehicle For Podcasts.

Beasley Media Group's recent launch of an all-podcast format on stations in four of its markets suggests that the company already knows something proven by various research sources: AM/FM radio is highly effective at promoting podcasts.

“Podcast fans and AM/FM radio listeners have a lot in common,” Cumulus Media/Westwood One Audio Active Group Chief Insights Officer Pierre Bouvard says in Westwood One's weekly blog. “Namely, they love audio and they want more of it. Increasingly, radio is becoming a really strong marketing platform for podcasts.”

The proof comes by way of Edison Research, along with a Cumulus Media-commissioned study from MARU/Matchbox. Edison's “Infinite Dial” shows, as Bouvard notes, “a lot of overlap between the radio and podcast audience.” A majority of the podcast audience also listens to AM/FM radio and vice versa.” Indeed, of the weekly AM/FM radio audience, 45% listen to podcasts weekly, 55% monthly, and 77% have ever listened to podcasts.

Looking at this the other way, Edison’s “Share of Ear” study finds in a typical day, two-thirds of podcast listeners also listen to AM/FM radio. “All of this podcast and AM/FM radio audience duplication means there are great cross-promotion opportunities,” Bouvard notes.

“Share of Ear” also shows that among podcast listeners, more than half of their time spent with ad-supported audio (53%) goes to podcasts, followed by 37% with AM/FM radio. Therefore, Bouvard says, “podcasts themselves are the best way to promote a podcast, but AM/FM radio is a strong number two.”

Edison shows podcasts' steadily increasing daily reach of Americans aged 25-54 – from 6.7% in 2016 to 31.8% in 2023, up 374% – meaning close to one in three in the demo listen to podcasts each day. “As podcast reach soars, AM/FM radio becomes a stronger marketing platform to promote podcasts,” Bouvard says. “We already know radio is the number one mass reach media, so when you look at the duplication with podcasts reach growing, there's so much overlap with AM/FM, therefore AM/FM increasingly becomes a great place to promote podcasts.”

The blog also includes an analysis of Cumulus' MARU/Matchbox research conducted last May among nearly 450 respondents 18+, who spent at least an hour listening to any of its stations in Dallas, Chicago, Detroit, San Francisco, or Atlanta, each of which aired promos for eight Cumulus Podcast Network podcast titles. The study found that two-thirds (67%) of heavy AM/FM listeners, and three of four heavy AM/FM streaming listeners (75%), were aware of the podcast titles. Likewise, 58% of heavy AM/FM listeners, and 63% of AM/FM streamers, were aware of the promos for these podcasts. “The greater the time spent with AM/FM radio, the greater the awareness for the promoted podcasts,” Bouvard notes.

Additionally, when it came to podcast ad recall, 35% of heavy AM/FM listeners and 38% of heavy AM/FM streamers were aware of ads for specific podcasts, while 23% of heavy AM/FM listeners and 29% of heavy AM/FM streamers said they were “very likely” to listen to the advertised podcasts.

“Promoting podcasts on AM/FM radio works,” Bouvard says. “We see strong evidence here that promos on the radio work to create awareness and interest in podcasts, especially among those heavy AM/FM radio streamers. Streaming is a real big takeaway here: it is also an excellent platform to promote podcasts.”

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