Does anyone listen to radio anymore?

Or maybe a better question is does anyone hear ads on the radio anymore?

These days I find myself listening to more and more podcasts. They are a much more interesting way to pass the time while in my car. I still listen to traditional radio, but only in small batches and only in very specific ways. I’ll listen to whichever NPR station isn’t having a pledge drive, and the local sports radio station which has slightly less-Neanderthal takes. But anything beyond those genres is non-existent to me.

What is startling is that when I take a step back, I can’t recall even one recent ad that I have heard on the radio which has led to a purchase decision. Zero. Radio advertising is white noise to me.

Contrast this with podcasts. I have about 10 podcasts I listen to regularly, and not only do I recall many of the advertisers, but more importantly (for the advertiser) I have tried multiple new products and made a number of purchases (underwear, watches, clothing, etc…). Just this morning I was listening to the Michael Holley Podcast (Michael used to do radio ads (!) for us here at Village), and I absolutely will go out and try products from his sponsor. The contrast in advertising effectiveness couldn’t be starker.

As to why radio advertising doesn’t work on me, maybe it is as simple as I am used to tuning it out. But podcasting ads are also presented in a way which portends conversion. The ads are read by hosts who I genuinely like. The reads can be longer and less crammed into 30 seconds, but I think more importantly they repeat in a consistent, less random pattern. When I hear the ad for Movement Watches I recognize it and I actually hear the ad copy. That’s why I am wearing one today.

Yes I am in the marketing business so maybe I am not a neutral observer, and yes it is a small sample size, but from my perch there is a yawning gap between this new form of advertising and creaky radio. If you are out there looking at marketing channels as you prepare your ad budget, I’d steer away from the colossal waste that is old radio.