A few weeks ago, an industry pundit wrote “Millennials…they hate radio.”  Really??? Let’s find out how Millennials feel.

Based on 303 online interviews conducted last week with 13-34 respondents, Millennials don’t hate FM radio. ..not nearly! The vast majority either love it or like it, while a scant 1% hate FM:

How do you feel about FM radio?     .
LOVE IT 37%
LIKE IT 45%
DISLIKE IT   4%
HATE IT   1%
Neither like nor dislike it 12%
Don’t know   1%

Teens are the least enthusiastic about FM…21%  “neither like nor dislike it,” while only 10% of 18-34’s do. Even so, they aren’t any more negative than older Millennials…only 3% of teens dislike FM, only 1% hate it. Females are more positive than males – 45% of them love FM, while 29% of males do .

So that’s how Millennials feel about FM radio.  But what do they think about it?

We looked at FM’s image two ways.  First we asked respondents: What is the very first thing that pops into your mind when you think of FM radio? The #1 response was a specific FM station (19%), #2 was “music.” Nothing very enlightening, except perhaps that only 3% volunteer that FM is “old” or “out-of-date.” The perception of FM as “old tech” isn’t top-of-mind with many Millennials.

Next, we gave respondents a list of 38 words or phrases and asked them to check all the ones they think describe FM radio.  I find the results impressively positive.  At the top of the list, a majority find FM “entertaining,”  But the next-highest are more encouraging….42% of Millennials(!)  consider FM “cool,” 35% recognize its “local-ness.”

Moving down the list,  28% consider FM “for your age group”…well ahead of “for younger people” (19%) or “for older people” (18%). More think FM is “getting better” (22%) than think it’s “getting worse” (12%).  And FM’s biggest overt negative is  “over-commercialized,” which isn’t surprising.  Meanwhile check out all the negatives at the bottom of the list.  What stands out for me is that only 7% check off “out-of-date” as something that describes FM.

This describes FM radio…
ENTERTAINING 53%
COOL 42%
LOCAL 35%
CHEERFUL 35%
ENERGETIC 34%
FUN 33%
FOR YOUR AGE GROUP 28%
FRIENDLY 27%
INTERESTING 26%
CARES ABOUT YOUR COMMUNITY     . 25%
EXCITING 24%
OVER-COMMERCIALIZED 23%
FUNNY 22%
GETTING BETTER 22%
REPETITIVE 21%
TRENDY 21%
DOWN-TO-EARTH 19%
FOR YOUNGER PEOPLE 19%
INFORMATIVE 18%
FOR OLDER PEOPLE 18%
CARES ABOUT YOU 16%
RELAXING 16%
TALKY 15%
SILLY 14%
CONTROVERSIAL 14%
ANNOYING 12%
GETTING WORSE 12%
LOUD 9%
SPONTANEOUS 9%
BORING 8%
OUT-OF-DATE 7%
INTELLIGENT 6%
DUMB 6%
SOPHISTICATED 6%
TIRED 5%
SERIOUS 5%
CRUDE 4%
OFFENSIVE 3%

Bottom line: This research reveals that Millennials, as a group, have anything but a negative attitude toward FM! This isn’t to suggest for a second that FM radio doesn’t have challenges going forward…we’ll get to that later this week.  But the idea that radio  is “toast” among younger people is dead wrong.

Now, AM radio?  A different story, as you would expect.  We’ll get to that tomorrow.