Radio Advertising – an underrated gem, not a dying art



Sub Sector


When you hear radio advertising, you might be forgiven for having not thought about it for some time. With the multitude of music streaming platforms where you can pick and choose exactly what music you want to listen to, and 24/7 access to the news in the palm of your hand, it’s easy to believe that radio’s time has passed, left only to fall upon the ears of the elderly and people in dentist waiting rooms. 

This is emphatically wrong. Radio listenership has decreased, especially amongst younger audiences. Stations seem to be scrambling to hold onto their audiences and attract new listeners. What was once the world’s favourite media platform is now one of many. This might lead you to believe that radio advertising is a lesser option – but we shouldn’t overlook the strengths of radio just yet.

Earlier this year, the UK Government’s Department of Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport conducted an independent review on digital radio and audio. They found that:

  • 89% of the UK population still listens to the radio weekly
  • 64% of audio consumed on smart speakers (Alexa, Google Home etc) is live radio
  • Live Radio will more than likely still account for 50% of UK audio listening in the mid-2030s

The numbers speak for themselves. Radio is far more popular in 2022 than it’s given credit for. This, in part, could be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. Listenership shot up during lockdown, perhaps due to our need for human connection and voices that aren’t those of the people we were trapped in a house with for months on end. Either way, the trend seems to have stuck.

A huge portion of the UK chooses to listen to live radio in the car over music streaming services. This is presumably because it’s much easier than trying to tether your phone to the Bluetooth or aux cable, and you don’t have the option to sit and skip songs – it provides background noise, and the variation between presenters talking and music can help keep listeners engaged and alert on long drives. It also reduces boredom and provides companionship.


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