the Changing Media Landscape

Staff Writer

What happens when you take 220 stations, 13 different radio formats, and close to 42,000  people spanning 4 generations?

The answer is Jacobs Media’s Techsurvey11.

A heap of Australians may have caught Fred Jacobs’ presentation just two weeks back at the Worldwide Radio Summit in Hollywood.

We decided to fire a couple of questions at Fred, President of Jacobs Media; about some of the results from Techsurvey11. And he also gives us his Five Tips to be armed for the Changing Media Landscape.


Blair: It’s a huge sample across the US.  Based on your research – what is the biggest issue facing US Radio operators?

Fred Jacobs:  It really is about the many options that American radio listeners have available to them.  This compels broadcasters to re-examine the unique benefits they offer that new media outlets can’t provide.  It varies by format and specific audience, of course.  For younger audiences, it may be about new music discovery, and for more mature listeners, it could be providing local information and a sense of place.

Blair: The generational divide and radio listening – what impacts are you seeing in particular with the younger end?

Fred Jacobs:  Clearly, Millennials have so much media to choose from.  Between their gadget and their social media outlets, they seamlessly move from channel to channel. 

Their relationship with their mobile phones is a related issue. 

Many younger people admit that they’re addicted to these devices.  And a large percentage of them wake up with their phones rather than that trusty clock radio on the nightstand.


Blair: What are some of the key drivers that still make radio relevant in the US?

Fred Jacobs:  We continue to see that radio provides emotional benefits to listeners up and down the demographic groups and formats.  From companionship to routine to mood elevation to escape, radio impacts people’s lives and their day to day rhythms.  Of course, playing the right music and having good personality shows are still fundamentals.


Blair: Are streaming services like Pandora, Spotify and iHeart starting to bite in the US?   What about online streaming of radio brands? Is that growing?  

Fred Jacobs:  Our surveys show that local station streaming is solid, but we continue to see pure-plays continuing to grow in relevance and usage.


Blair: If we talk Music… is Radio still the first point of discovery?  Where else are they heading?

Fred Jacobs:  Radio is the top choice, but the numbers are down from past years.  Younger people in particular, are using sources like YouTube and Pandora more often.


Blair:  Your Techsurvey11 report is labelled the “Changing Media Landscape” – from your side of things…. If stations are not doing it now – what are 5 things they need to get on top of to stay relevant with their target audiences?

Fred Jacobs:

Become more attuned to the “connected car” and how it is impacting media choices.


Get behind the NextRadio app that allows users to tune in FM radio. 

(Editor note: NextRadio is a free app to deliver local FM radio on smartphone devices. Not a bad idea, you can find out more info on it here)


Understand that the growth of on-demand use of television will impact the radio experience (podcasting).  

Build radio apps with an alarm clock streaming feature – and promote it.   

The car dealership is an important conduit for ensuring that new buyers learn how to set their radio stations on these new systems  

Jacobs Media’s Techsurvey11 is in its 11th year and while based on US results, it still gives a fascinating insight into the drivers for radio listeners, tracking a highly evolving and changing media environment year on year.

You can view and download the entire Techsurvey11 here. There is also a summary of some of the key findings on the Jacobs Media website, which you can check out and view here.




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