This year (2019), Gen Z (people ages 7-22 - born between 1997 and 2012) will surpass Millennials as the most populous generation, comprising roughly 32% of the population and collectively influencing $600B of family spending annually. This generation is unique to any that have come before them because they have never known a world without unlimited digital access and are consumers of content everywhere and anywhere they can get it.  

A joint study, conducted by Futuri Media and the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications, revealed that Gen Zers use media in 8-second bites and juggle five screens at once. They get information from peers and Google, are tech-savvy, and are heavy social media users.  They use radio to discover new music, connect with their favorite DJs and stay up on local news and events. 

Music plays a pivotal role in Gen Z’s lives.  According to digital media company Sweety High’s 2018 Gen Z Music Consumption & Spending Report, almost all survey respondents (94%) cite music as “important” or “very important” (73%) to their lives. Most (92%) say the music they listen to impacts their mood. Nearly half (45%) say their favorite artists influence their personal style, and 40% said music plays a role in influencing their social circle.

This generation has more options than ever to find undiscovered music, and Gen Z embraces that diversity in their music genres and platforms, blending a mix of new and traditional media options for music discovery and consumption. 

With an average weekly reach of over 86% among consumers between the ages of 12-24, AM/FM radio delivers the Gen Z audience.

Radio also garners the greatest share of listening (63%) among the center segment of Gen Z, Americans aged 13-19, followed by streaming audio (50%), owned music (46%), YouTube (34%) and Sirius XM (13%) according to the Edison Research Share of Ear, 2019.

According to a recent Adweek article, Gen Zers value authenticity and connection over marketing gimmicks, and engagement strategies must be subtle and culturally relevant.  Their voices are getting progressively louder and if brands want to connect, they need to have a unique perspective on important issues and be prepared to contribute to the conversation with authenticity.

Music, authenticity, multi-tasking, sound bites, connections, social – all common denominators between radio and Gen Z.  So, when looking to market to this highly desirable audience, ensure that audio and the #1 reach medium of radio is part of the plan.  Offer bite-sized content, on-demand audio, authentic conversation with the talent they trust, share socially and be present in the environment that influences their behavior.