Of course, Millennials aren’t a target for the vast majority of AM stations! (Radio Disney is a rare exception.) Still, in our study of under-35’s, we  wanted to know what they feel and think about AM…

Based on 303 online interviews conducted last week with 13-34 respondents, AM has more likes than dislikes. But, not surprisingly, Millennials’ affection for AM doesn’t come close to that of FM, and their #1 response is indifference — nearly a third neither like nor dislike AM:

How do you feel about AM radio?     .
LOVE IT   8%
LIKE IT 27%
DISLIKE IT 17%
HATE IT   9%
Neither like nor dislike it 30%
Don’t know   8%

Positive feelings for AM have a male skew (the opposite of FM’s skew)…42% of males either like (31%) or love (11%) AM, while only 29% of females do. Broken out by age groups, the youngest and oldest Millennials share pretty much the identical view of AM.

We asked those who dislike or hate AM: Why?  We did that for FM too, but there weren’t enough “dissing” FM to do an analysis. For AM, there definitely were, and here’s how their comments broke out:

Why do you dislike/hate AM?
TOO MANY/ALL TALK(SHOWS) 32%
BORING 26%
STATIC/FUZZY 19%
HAS NOTHING I’M INTERESTED IN   . 17%
I LIKE MUSIC/AM HAS NONE 10%
DISLIKE ITS MUSIC   7%
ONLY FOR SPORTS   6%
OLD   4%
ALL NEWS/DISLIKE   3%
Other   8%
Don’t know   3%

Millennials’ reasons for disliking (or even hating) AM radio reflect what they think about it. When we asked respondents: What is the very first thing that pops into your mind when you think of AM radio?, their #1 response was  “talk shows” (16%), followed by “boring” (10%), “old/outdated”  (8%), “sports” (7%) and news (7%).

Next, we gave respondents a list of 38 words or phrases and asked them to check all the ones they think describe AM radio. At the top, we again see AM’s downsides among Millennials:  it’s “for older people” (48%), “boring” (41%), “out-of-date” (28%) and “talky” (27%). They do acknowledge some positives, with “informative” (23%) and “local” (19%) the biggest:

FOR OLDER PEOPLE 48%
BORING 41%
OUT-OF-DATE 28%
TALKY 27%
INFORMATIVE 23%
LOCAL 19%
ANNOYING 18%
CARES ABOUT YOUR COMMUNITY    . 17%
COOL 14%
TIRED 13%
SERIOUS 12%
INTERESTING 12%
ENTERTAINING 12%
DOWN-TO-EARTH 11%
INTELLIGENT 11%
DUMB 11%
CONTROVERSIAL 10%
FRIENDLY 10%
GETTING WORSE 10%
GETTING BETTER  9%
CARES ABOUT YOU  9%
FUN  9%
CHEERFUL  8%
ENERGETIC  8%
EXCITING  8%
CRUDE  7%
FOR YOUR AGE GROUP  7%
RELAXING  7%
FOR YOUNGER PEOPLE  6%
OVER-COMMERCIALIZED  6%
FUNNY  5%
REPETITIVE  5%
SILLY  5%
SOPHISTICATED  5%
TRENDY  5%
LOUD  3%
SPONTANEOUS  3%
OFFENSIVE  2%

Bottom line: The prognosis for AM radio among Millennials is, unsurprisingly, not encouraging. Still, I don’t find these results entirely negative for AM stations…

For one thing, only around a fourth of Millennials dislike AM. In addition, the biggest reasons for their dislike isn’t about the technical sound of AM…that’s only the #3 reason. The two bigger reasons relate to the programming available on AM…more than anything else, talk shows they’re not interested in.

This does not suggest that Talk AM’s should drop the format!!! But it does suggest other AMs might have an opportunity to deliver unique programming listeners can’t get anywhere else, even programming targeted to Millennials.