Over the past two decades, the internet has grown to become a video-fast medium we can access almost everywhere, anytime and do almost anything with. It’s been a seismic force impacting the entire media landscape…y’know, the one that we’re still part of.

It’s affected radio, for sure. Time spent online means time away from broadcast FM and AM. Yet the vitality of our medium has been confirmed by how well it has held up in the face of the ‘net monster. Radio continues to reach around 90% of Americans.

Still, at this point, I wondered: Just how important is radio in people’s lives? Where does it stand compared to the internet and other media?

So, in early April, we asked 18-64’s in the U.S. how important the internet and radio are to them, plus TV and newspapers for comparison. Based on 502 telephone interviews, here’s what we learned…

The internet rules over all. Three-fourths rate it a 4 or 5 on our 5-point scale, where 5 means “very important.” After that, radio and TV score essentially the same, with half rating them 4 or 5. (TV does have a small edge in the percentage rating it very important.)

Meanwhile, little more than one-fourth rate newpapers 4 or 5, while nearly a third rate them 1 — that is, “not at all important.”  (Take that to your market’s local advertisers!)

How important is this to you in your life? ‘NET PAPERS RADIO TV
1: NOT AT ALL   7% 30% 11% 11%
2:   5% 19% 16% 12%
3: 12% 23% 23% 25%
4: 18% 12% 24% 22%
5: VERY IMPORTANT 57% 16% 26% 30%
AVERAGE: 4.1 2.7 3.4 3.5


From the perspective of age demos, the ‘net has its biggest edge over broadcast media at the young end, as we’d expect. But there is no significant difference between the importance of radio and TV until we get up to 55-64, where TV has the edge. Even among 55-64’s though, radio is significantly more important than newspapers. Here are the average scores:

How important is this to you in your life? .            










INTERNET 4.3 4.3 4.3 3.8 3.9
NEWSPAPERS 2.3 2.3 2.9 2.8 2.8
RADIO 3.0 3.2 3.5 3.8 3.4
TV 3.1 3.3 3.6 3.7 3.7

It’s no shock that the internet has become the most important medium. After all, the ‘net encompasses all — delivering radio, TV, newspaper content and much much more.

But radio remains a big deal…as important as TV, and much more important than newspapers. By virtue of that alone, radio deserves a bigger share of advertiser dollars than it’s been getting for years.

Even so, if your station isn’t aggressively working on extending its brand to the internet (and mobile devices) it’s time — no,  past time — to get busy!