I recently sat in on the Edison Research webinar about people born between 1996 and 2012, known as GEN-Z.
If you read about this webinar in the radio trades, you would have learned that 55% of these young people listen to AM/FM over-the-air radio. What’s not to like about that?
The reality was, this daily radio listening was only to Over-The-Air FM radio, none of these GEN-Z people ever mentioned listening to AM radio. That’s still a positive, right?
It is, if your only focus is on the immediate future, not future trends.
Today, people aged 8 to 24 make up over 65-million Americans. They are the first truly digital natives, not having known a world without full digital access to content. GEN-Z people are also often called “ZOOMers.” They would rather create their own content than curate other people’s content.
Edison Research points out that Generation Z has only known a world where everything is ON DEMAND, and it’s the growing up in an ON DEMAND world that makes ZOOMers a challenge for OTA radio.
- Their smartphones are the center of their media world.
- 53% of ZOOMers listen to audio streaming daily.
- They spend 98% more time than the rest of the population watching videos and listening to music on YouTube.
- Spotify is their go-to music streaming service.
- Their radio listening is mostly in the car, some at work, but none of it occurs in the home.
- If they listen to OTA radio, it is on a device that only receives OTA radio signals, not with a digital streaming device.
When Edison Research ran clips of people in this age group talking about their media habits, it was clear FM radio wasn’t their first choice, but the fact that it was available in the car they were riding in or it was playing on a radio that everyone listened to while they were working.
Things Radio Can Do to Attract ZOOMers
Edison suggested that these programming ideas might be a way to attract the GEN-Z audience:
- News & Information is important to GEN-Z, it’s their social currency.
- Remind ZOOMers that radio is available on their digital streaming device.
- GEN-Z wants to change the world, their local communities for the better and OTA radio could be a catalyst for helping them do this.
- Surprise and delight ZOOMers with your content.
This last point is really about engaging the listener, and showing them you really care. In reality, 74% of your listeners probably don’t care* if your FM radio station disappears, because they don’t think you really care about them. Radio needs to create shared experiences for this age group. Radio needs to show they care.
Shared Values and Shared Purpose
Christian broadcasters and NPR both understand the shared values and purpose of their listeners and base their programming decisions on them. These broadcasters understand that their mission is not to attract everyone to their programming, but to build a loyal audience with those who share their vision of the world.
Using the Edison Research on GEN-Z, how can your radio station inspire and empower the ZOOMers in your community?
How do you learn what the shared values and purposes of the GEN-Z listeners are?
Form a GEN-Z advisory board to learn what’s on their minds and what their vision for the future is. Be willing to focus every aspect of your radio station on what’s important to THEM.
Change doesn’t begin with a slogan, it begins with shared values and purpose, which then inspires people to come together and create a world that is better than they found it.