Radio, as an industry, will celebrate its "first" vibrant 100 years in 2020. And having just recently been installed as the Chairman of the Radio Advertising Bureau, I will proudly see our medium into its second century. The country has seen the evolution of radio over that time from a nascent technology with few users to a pervasive and ubiquitous part of American culture. We all know radio's history, right? The AM band dominated for decades before the FM band finally found its legs, and combined, the two continue to be a solid foundation for today's ever-evolving "audio landscape."
Our family has been in the broadcasting business since the early 20's. My grandfather, Stanley E. Hubbard, started with one radio station: WAMD. In our company's 90-or-so years we have never been more excited about the radio business. Audience levels are near an all-time high of 247.3MM people 12+ every week. Radio offers a richer experience for our listeners across our digital platforms and a more dynamic environment to help our advertising partners grow their businesses.
Our listeners are with us on the radio, in the car, on our streams, connected to us on social media, and seek out our compelling and entertaining content on our podcasts whenever and however they want it - on demand.
In addition, with NextRadio (the app that activates the FM chip in smart phones),
more and more of our listeners are also hearing us on their smartphones -- not through a streaming-only service but directly over-the-air on their smartphones. As more and more smartphone users fire up the tuners in their phones, broadcasters are able to provide our advertising partners with granular data -- data that helps illustrate the effectiveness of advertising to the consumer. With click-throughs that beat mobile and digital norms and the ability to track a listener directly to the point of purchase, over-the-air advertisers are now able to garner real-time sales attribution for over-the-air radio activity and insights into consumer behavior like never before. Just as the 8-track, cassette, CD players and satellite radio did not put radio out of business, the personal playlist or the plethora of streaming-only services will not either. The audio landscape just keeps evolving and growing and the foundation for all of it is local radio. Did you know that satellite radio has been around for 20 years? Man…time flies when you're having fun!
Radio is far from yesterday's news. Radio still connects daily at a very personal level with over 179.6MM listeners. The evolution occurring in our landscape simply allows radio and its advertising partners to do so in a much more three dimensional way - on-air, online and on demand.
We can't wait to see what comes next!