Two things are remarkable about voting day in 1920. It was the first time, ever, women could participate in the selection of the U.S. President. It was also the first time live election results were broadcast on the radio. Not to mention, it was also the first radio broadcast, ever.
The voters' choice that night was between Warren G. Harding and James M. Cox. Both men had derived their political power as successful newspaper publishers. It is quite ironic, then, that one of these men would reach the highest office in the land on the same night that the nascent radio broadcasting business began its takedown of the newspaper industry.
Nowhere is this takedown more apparent than locally, where radio has become, by far, the advertising medium with the largest reach among Tampa Bay consumers.
Last week, for instance, 2,193,604 adult consumers tuned to their favorite Tampa radio stations. This significantly eclipses local newspaper readership as well as local TV viewership.
Every year since 1970, AM/FM radio has reached more than 90% of all adults. During that same period, newspaper readership has plummeted.
Look at the Tampa Bay Times, for example. Since the third quarter of 2017, the circulation of the newspaper's daily edition has declined by 15%. The Sunday paper dropped by 13% during the same period
Although local newspaper's remaining appeal is among older readers, Tampa radio is now the primary advertising medium of choice of every demographic. This includes Generation X, Y, & Z. Millennials. Boomers. Everybody.
The most important metric, though, for local, small business owners to consider is not the sheer size of an audience, but the quality of the audience. In those socio-economic categories which most advertisers covet, Tampa radio dominates over local newspaper.
For small business owners who advertise on radio, there is little need to also put ads in the newspaper. Each week, according to Nielsen, 90.3% of Tampa Bay consumers who read a local newspaper are also reached by Tampa radio stations. While less that half of the radio audience can be reached in print.
By any criteria, radio advertising is superior to newspaper for helping Tampa Bay small business owners claim a share of the $54 billion local consumers will spend this year.