December 21, 2023

What Do Marco Polo and Radio Have in Common? Discovery!

By Dave Richards, SVP of Programming and Reggie Shah, Senior Director of Research & Insights, Audacy

In a world where algorithms, social media, and custom playlists seem to be all over the music scene, it’s Radio that tends to be the leader when it comes to discovering new music. In fact, Radio is playing the most crucial role in the world of music.


Recent studies spill the beans—Radio is a big deal for many of us when it comes to discovering new music. Now, you might be wondering, “How in the world is that possible with all these streaming services?” Well, it turns out Radio has a few tricks up its sleeve.

Unlike algorithms that crunch numbers to guess what you might like, Radio DJs are like your musical tour guides. They bring you a handpicked selection, sprinkled with stories and insights. It’s like having a friend who knows your taste but can also surprise you with something new. That personal touch builds a connection and trust, making us more open to checking out fresh tunes.

And let’s talk about genres—or the lack thereof these days. Music is all over the place, crossing boundaries left and right. Guess who’s rocking in this diverse soundscape? Yep, Radio stations. They’re like musical chameleons, adapting to whatever style comes their way.

Take the Jelly Roll story, for example. This artist was flying under the mainstream radar until Audacy’s Radio stations decided to give his music some serious airtime. DJs told the Jelly Roll story and listeners couldn’t get enough. Suddenly, he’s everywhere, thanks to Radio’s magic touch, launching new talent into the spotlight.

Audacy was the first station that championed “Son of a Sinner”. They went first. The rest of the country was lagging behind… At that moment when we were taking “Son of a Sinner” to Country Radio we were met with a lot of resistance. And Audacy gave us zero. In fact they came right in… It’s even cooler that I’m doing a show with the company that got me to Country Radio first.”

Jelly Roll


Sure, streaming platforms give us access to a gazillion songs, but they lack that personal vibe we get from Radio. DJs aren’t just spinning tracks; they’re our companions, guiding us through the musical maze and dropping unexpected gems along the way.

Ever hear of “new to me” music? In a world where digital libraries are bottomless, discovering a classic tune for the first time is like finding treasure. Radio plays a big role in this. It’s like the record store of the airwaves, digging up hidden gems and reminding us why music is timeless. Just last month, 19 Million listeners under 25 discovered music “new to them” across stations like Classic Hits, Hip-Hop, Rock, and Country.1 New Music for the younger generations isn’t just Dua Lipa’s “Houdini” – it’s also Kate Bush’s “Running up that Hill”, or Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams”.

As the music scene keeps evolving, Radio rides shotgun, as our go-to for discovering what’s hot. The personal connection, the killer playlists, and the ability to roll with the musical punches—that’s why Radio is the MVP of music discovery.

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1 Nielsen Audio via Act One, Metro, PPM Markets Nov ‘23, 4-week Cume, Any Spill, Mon-Sun 6a-6a, P6+, 80’s Hits, Classic Alt Rock, Classic Country, Classic HipHop, Classic Hits, Classic Rock, Oldies, R&B Oldies, Spanish Classic Country, Spanish Classic Hits,

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