Worldwide Wednesday: Millennials Love Radio’s Authenticity

Yesterday New York’s Advertising Week explained “Why Millennials and Gen Z Are Listening More,” the Millennial demographic was called out and characterized as lapping up all things audio.

“Millennials are probably the most misunderstood generation by marketers. So often we get it wrong,” said moderator Gayle Troberman, executive VP & CMO at iHeartMedia.

One misconception is that the demo doesn’t tune into FM radio. Not the case, Troberman said. “The biggest mass medium for Millennials is radio, which just surpassed TV. That’s a pretty shocking turn of events. Smartphones are No. 2 and TV is No. 3,” Troberman noted. “In the car, people feel like they’re having a live conversation [with radio], because they have to put down their smartphones when they’re driving.” She said that 93% of Millennials listen to radio, 2.5-3.5 hours a week.

Added panel co-participant, and iHeartMedia host and radio/TV media mogul Ryan Seacrest, “There is an intimacy and authenticity to radio. There is a direct line of communication that is unvarnished, and I think Millennials appreciate that. That certainly resonates with an audience that likes to feel like they’re being talked to naturally.”

The pair also discussed aligning brands with live events to tie into radio’s strengths. “Integrating live experiences and amplifying and sharing the stories—such as the iHeart Radio Festival—reaches all walks of life, all walks of music. It’s become a massive cultural event,” Seacrest said. As a result, the social media outreach surpassed that of the Super Bowl Halftime Show and was up in Oscars territory—which means the event presents unprecedented opportunities for advertisers and marketers.

For those brands that participate in these radio-centric events, Seacrest added, “The collaboration of understanding what is a win for the brand is what [radio does] so well. Bringing in the advertiser sooner and talking about what we want to accomplish together is important. It becomes a collaborative effort, and everybody feels better about the win.”

Seacrest has little doubt why radio continues to rule among Millennials: “Radio is live, it is immediate, it is intimate, it is everyday and we have the full platform” that includes digital and social media. “I think that’s why you’re seeing that listening is up.”