The Buggles were Wrong. Radio Killed the Video Star

By Paul Suchman

Today, the effectiveness of Audio (Radio+Streaming+Podcasts) vs. video is among the ultimate tussles between media planners and publishers. While some may lean more heavily toward video, we at Audacy respectfully disagree.

The Buggles were wrong: Radio, well multi-platform Audio, killed the video star.

Here are five reasons why:

1- Audio reaches more people.  Audio has always been the undisputed king of reach. In the past, it was often lazily deployed as a reach extender for traditional broadcast plans. No longer the case! Per Nielsen, Audio’s reach now surpasses TV. It is the premier medium for building awareness and bolstering brand profiles. It should be a leading media of choice for brands that want to meet their audiences everywhere they are. 

2- More time is spent with Audio. An Alter Agents’ study of U.S. media consumers demonstratively showed that every week, Audio – including OTA, streaming and podcasting – consumes nearly a full day of our lives. Time spent with Audio far exceeds the hours spent watching broadcast, cable TV or subscription streams. For brands, more time spent means more opportunities to be an integral part of people’s daily rituals and be top of mind when it comes to making choices.

3- Audio is more immersive. At Audacy, we conducted neuroscience research to understand how Audio affects the brain—how it impacts how we think, feel, and, ultimately, make decisions. Nerd Alert! We discovered that Audio is way more immersive than mediums like linear TV, streaming video, and social media platforms. When Audio enters our ears, it seeps into our brains, releasing a cocktail of serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine in the same combination released when we receive a hug from someone we love. That’s why the connection between medium and reaction is just so powerful. Audio exceeds all other advertising norms for garnering attention and creating emotional connection. Embracing this insight is exponentially helping advertisers have their messages land with impact.

4- Audio activates all senses. It does so much more than activate our sound receptors. 

Audio can activate other senses by bringing up vivid memories. Often called the “theater of the mind,” Audio creates stories for the brain to illustrate. Unencumbered by any visual biases, the sounds we hear trigger emotions using our own contexts. By using our imagination, we’re actively participating in a story’s creation and that is advertising’s holy grail. When marketers tell a story using strong copywriting, musical scores, sound design and sonic branding, engagement skyrockets—and so does the likelihood of taking action.

5- Audio drives recall. Do you ever organize your thoughts using familiar tunes or musical patterns? Then you know how Audio improves recall. A neuro study that compared how memory encoding worked across TV and Radio shows that Radio ads had +220% higher memory encoding than TV ads. It’s important because recall is the catalyst to convert those considering into purchasing

And finally, here’s a bonus point….Gen-Z and Millennials are more likely to stream Audio than video. When choosing a medium to connect with the next generation of high-spending consumers, there’s no better choice than Audio. It reaches critical mass, and it’s a frequent daily habit. Media plans need to reflect the new norm. To earn more shares of mind, heart and wallet, brands MUST be in consumers’ ears (which puts them directly in the purchase path).

Reach. Time Spent. Immersion. Theater of the Mind. Recall.  So with deep respect to The Buggles, the future of advertising is Audio, not video.  RUSH had it right all along, “Begin the day with a friendly voice. A companion, unobtrusive…” – The Spirit of Radio

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