“Dialed-In or Disconnected:” Millennials’ Perceptions of Radio
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With multiple advancements in technology and the wide range of genres available to choose from, younger adults may be shifting to other platforms of radio. If younger generations begin to shift towards digital streaming outlets, it could potentially be a threat to marketers and programmers in AM/FM radio. The purpose of this study was to understand Millennials’ listening habits, specifically, the cognitive and affective (emotional) connections a listener has when consuming radio programming. Understanding these personal experiences may lead to more effective targeting and increase AM/FM listenership. The first phase of the study was a qualitative exploration of listening habits. Interviews were conducted with radio program directors and Millennial listeners. Qualitative data was collected to provide a thick description of the programmers who were interviewed and describe what influences their programming. Data from interviews with Millennial listeners was used to describe their listening habits and preferences. The psychographic data obtained was used to understand listeners’ motivations for listening to radio through various themes applied to the social cognitive theory, specifically the personal determinants. The data from the quantitative study was used to describe listeners’ environmental and behavioral determinants, including what participants are listening to, when they listen, and how often they listen. The data from the quantitative study was obtained through the distribution of questionnaires across the southwest United States. Several factors influenced how listeners consume radio programming in the United States. Millennial listeners wanted to be able to connect to the music they listen to and the radio programming they consume on an emotional level. Programmers interviewed for this study have shifted away from focusing only on the numbers reported to them and are incorporating other forms of research to better understand their audience. The most common differences were found when comparing generations’ listening habits and preferences. Significant differences occurred when comparing generations listening habits including where listeners were consuming radio programming, when they were listening, the device used, format preference, and the platform used to consume radio. Several significant differences occurred when comparing listening habits of Millennials among designated market areas.
social cognitive theory
social exchange theory
Svatek, Suzann Renee (2015). “Dialed-In or Disconnected:” Millennials’ Perceptions of Radio. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from