Charlie Sislen with caption

New Jersey Broadcasters left Atlantic City Thursday with fresh ammo to show clients in their home markets the power of radio in the Garden State. Nine out of ten New Jersey residents tune to the radio in an average week and three out of five tune in during an average day. While radio’s reach on a national level is no secret to the industry, the state-level data about the medium’s prevalence gave NJBA conference attendees more relevant local data to use in their client presentations.

Although New Jersey consumers tune in to radio throughout the day and week, the medium’s biggest daypart is afternoon drive where 74% of adults 25-54 listen. And in a surprise, weekends are a close second, attracting 71%. That’s even higher than the much-vaunted morning drive daypart, which came in at 66%.

“Weekends outperforming morning drive is important when you’re talking to a retailer because they’re making their money on Saturday and Sunday,” said Charlie Sislen, partner at Research Director Inc., who made the presentation. “Maybe a buyer can’t afford morning drive but you should be selling out your weekends at a great rate.”

To make his case that radio is an undervalued medium, Sislen showed how a “huge portion” of the population is missed by an advertiser that only invests in television. Using Nielsen Scarborough info from New Jersey counties, he showed that more than one in four NJ residents (28%) watched no TV in the past week and 21% tuned in for just 1-9 half-hours.

“Broadcast TV consumption is dominated by a few,” Sislen argued, pointing to data that shows a little over one-third (37%) of the population accounts for the majority (87%) of broadcast TV consumption in New Jersey. The remaining 63% of the population make up only 13% of broadcast TV consumption. And those heavy TV viewers are largely outside the demos that advertisers target – 65% of heavy TV viewers are ages 55+ compared to 35% of heavy radio listeners. In fact, the majority of New Jersey’s heavy radio listeners (57%) are aged 25-54, compared to just 23% of heavy TV viewers.

“Radio is an 18-49 or a 25-54 medium while TV is a 55+ medium,” Sislen stressed. “If advertisers want to reach 55+, TV is a great medium. For 18-49 and 25-54 radio is the better medium.”

Breaking out heavy media users based on their household income, the Nielsen Scarborough data shows heavy TV viewers have higher concentrations of households with incomes of $35,000 or less, $35,000-$50,000 and $50,000-$75,000 while radio outperforms TV in $75,000-$100,000 and higher income brackets. “Once you hit $75,000 or more, radio kicks,” Sislen said. “We outperform the target in 25-54 and people with incomes of $75,000-plus.”

Sislen used the data to advance the argument that, just like Rodney Dangerfield, radio doesn’t get the respect it deserves. “Media buyers aren’t giving radio the same respect that they were 40 years ago. Yet we are as vibrant and relevant as ever. And when the media buyers don’t give us the respect we deserve, we’re not getting the money and the credit that we should.”