What Marketers Need To Know About Advertising on Boston Radio

Apr 20, 2023 6:14:33 PM / by Larry Julius

According to Nielsen, 3,333,841 adults tune in to their favorite Boston radio stations every week. This is significantly more consumers than are reached by all other advertising-supported media, including local TV, local cable, streaming video, social media, online audion, and local newspapers.

Advertising On Boston Radio 2022 Nielsen

Boston radio's unchallenged reach is why many local business owners depend on the medium to capture the largest possible share of the $101 billion dollars consumers are expected to spend at retail this year.

Other local small business owners, however, may be surprised to learn that by most marketing metrics, radio remains the best way to advertise in Boston.

Here are four more facts about AM/FM radio that may surprise many local marketers.

New call-to-action1. Radio Ratings Have Exceeded Local TV's For The First Time Ever

The current Nielsen data clearly shows that radio is the number one advertiser-supported medium in Boston in terms of the number of different consumers reached every week. 

Reach, though, is only one component used to calculate ratings.  The other metric that contributes to the rating formula is the time spent using each medium. So, although for the past 10 years, AM/FM radio's reach has been significantly higher than the reach of local TV, consumers spent considerably more time watching TV. As a result of the math, TV has enjoyed higher ratings than radio.

For the first time, however, AM/FM radio ratings have exceeded local TV ratings by three percent among the key advertising demographic of 18-49-year-olds, according to Nielsen's Total Audience Data for the third quarter of 2023.

Advertising In Boston TV Ratings 2023

In the Boston area, there are 2,139,512 18-49-year-olds, the majority of whom are millennials, a generation that now accounts for nearly one-third of all retail spending.

Over the past five years, the downward pressure on local TV ratings among 18-49-year-olds has been from the rapid decline of both reach and time spent viewing. During that time, says Nielsen, TV's reach in that vital audience fell by 28% while the daily time spent viewing plummeted by 56%.

Television Advertising In Boston Ratings 18-49

2. Why Radio Is A More Effective Branding Medium Than Local TV

According to the Small Business Guide To Effective Advertising, an effective advertising campaign needs a specific marketing objective. The objective should correspond with a Boston advertiser’s key challenges or opportunities. The objective will influence which media are purchased, the duration of the campaign, the timing of the advertising, as well as the length and the content of the advertisements.

A business owner would choose a branding objective if the purpose of a campaign is to convince consumers to believe something about a product or service. For instance, a financial planner might want adults approaching retirement to regard her firm’s annuity plans as the safest way to ensure worry-free living.

To be effective branding campaigns typically require an advertiser's message to be heard multiple times by the same target consumers.

A recent report by Nielsen indicates that almost the entirety of a radio station's monthly audience is reached during the first week of a month. Therefore, after a week of continual advertising, the likelihood of repeat exposure to target consumers begins to increase dramatically.

On the other hand, it takes a full month for a local TV station to achieve its fullest potential audience. For an advertiser, this means that each time a commercial airs, it will be more likely to reach a new person rather than generate the repeat exposures necessary for a successful branding campaign.

Advertising In Boston Media Usage 2023

3. Local Radio Is The #1 Choice For In-Car Audio

AM/FM radio's dominance among local consumers is driven, in large part, by the 3.3 million Boston area adults who take to the road in their car or truck every week, according to Neilsen.

In fact, says Nielsen, 69% of all radio listening among Boston adults happens outside the home, primarily in one of the Boston area's 4.6 million registered vehicles.

Advertise In Boston In-Car Radio Listening

Once in the car, Boston radio stations become the primary audio source despite the abundance of in-dash listening options.

According to a recent study by Edison Research, nearly 75% of consumers listened to AM/FM radio in their cars during the past 30 days.  This is significantly more drivers than listened to their own digital music, podcasts, online audio, CDs, or satellite radio.

Advertising In Boston In-Car Listening 2023

Although consumers utilize a variety of audio sources while in the car, drivers spend 75% of their time listening to local AM/FM radio, especially among advertising support media.  Podcasts rank a distant number two with a 15% share.

Advertise In Boston In Car Listening 2023

4. Adult Consumers Of All Ethnicities Spend Nearly Ten Hours Per Week Listening To Local Radio

According to Nielsen, adult consumers spend nearly ten hours per week listening to local radio stations despite a growing number of available media options.  This is true regardless of the ethnic background of the listeners. 

Advertise In Boston Time Spent Listening To The Radio 2023

As a matter of fact, radio listening makes up, by far, the greatest share of all time spent with any advertising-supported audio medium.

According to Edison, local radio accounts for 73% of all time spent listening to any audio medium. In addition to AM/FM, this includes podcasts, Pandora, Spotify, and Sirius/XM.Advertising In Boston Audio Share of Ear 2023

More Advertising Advice For Boston Small Business Owners

New call-to-action






Topics: best way to advertise, radio advertising, television advertising, how to advertise, streaming audio, television, in-car audio, local television, AM/FM Radio, audio streaming

Receive Great Advertising Advice Direct To Your Inbox...

Advertise In Boston Now

Recent Posts

  • There are no suggestions because the search field is empty.