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What Does It Mean for Radio as Consumers Cut the Cord?

September 5, 2017

Cable advertising has always had a unique competitive advantage in the marketplace. It has the targetability (geographic and psychographic) of radio, with the pictures of television. It was also a low cost provider. This made it difficult to compete.

However, as consumers cut the cable, cable advertising has hit hard times. The number of cord cutters is growing. What is even more concerning to cable operators is that it is the ideal demographics that are doing the cutting. In the first three quarters of 2016, according to SNL Kagan, 1.3 million households cut their cable. Media Life Magazine predicted that between 2015 and 2020 4.7 million people will cancel their pay TV subscription.

Jacobs Media’s Techsurvey13 reports that 12% of all cable users have cut the cable cord. More importantly, the desirable Millennials and Gen Xers are cutting their cable cords at a higher rate than the balance of the population.


So why is this occurrence relevant to the radio industry? As consumers are cutting their access to cable, that reduces the potential reach of cable advertising. Every week, a larger number of potential consumers cannot access cable and therefore its advertising.

With this said, radio advertising reps need to continue to stress that radio is the ultimate reach medium. According to the RAB, over 91% of Adults tune to the radio in an average week, and 67% tune in an average day. Even those hard to reach Adults 18-34 are still coming to radio. 89% of all Adults 18-34 are tuning to radio in an average week, and 63% are tuning in on an average day.

As people cut their cable cord, radio remains strong.

Just remember, an advertising message cannot be acted upon unless it is seen or heard. Radio’s reach assures advertisers that their message will be heard.

-Charlie Sislen, Partner