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The superpower of audio

Whether you’re a listener, a content creator, or an advertiser, audio offers unparalleled benefits

The superpower of audio

Today, every person has content coming at them from every angle, all day every day. From new web series and bingeable streaming shows to billboards and TikTok trends, it is increasingly difficult to pick anything out from the mess of stimuli around us. Audio, however, has a unique, dare I say, superpower to break through the fray. From music to news reports to sports coverage to the most basic spoken word, people have embraced audio for more than 100 years (or more than 3000, if you consider oral storytelling). And they continue to embrace it through every moment of its evolution. Audio is a trusted and versatile medium that offers magnificent opportunities to consumers, creators, and advertisers.

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Two factors have always made audio an unmatched resource for listeners: immediacy and trust. Since the earliest days of broadcasting, audio has been the fastest way to deliver content, whether it’s breaking news content that keeps you company and connected to your community. It’s simple, direct, and powerful. It comes from voices and brands you love. All this is what makes audio trustworthy. Research indicates that audio content drives unmatched engagement and trust. This is especially true for listeners of local audio media. Radio stations, influencers, and brands that engage on the issues that matter to people and their communities outperform other outlets across virtually all trust and immersion metrics. What’s more, people today can take audio with them wherever they go—their kitchen, their car, their gym, their pocket. It makes audio a reliable companion and a trusted authority that keeps listeners updated on the go, anywhere they may be, ​​whenever they want to connect.

DEEP CONNECTION WITH LARGE AUDIENCES

Content creators are an equally important part of the deep bond between audio and consumers. Indeed, the authenticity and immediacy of audio that rewards consumers is also very appealing to the creators who make the content. Just as listeners know that they can get immediate updates via audio, content creators know they can produce and deliver their stories much faster than if they were filming or coding. And just as listeners turn to audio for a trusted, dedicated perspective, so too can content creators count on a passionate, deeply connected audience that they won’t find through any other medium. Ask any creator and they will tell you – the depth and intimacy of the relationship they have with their listeners is far stronger than in any other medium. It’s all about trust and love – two of the most powerful words on the planet.

That’s a big audience, too. Though there are more ways to connect people and media today than at any point in history, audio remains the number one reach medium in the United States. Radio alone continues to reach 92% of adults every week, and audio now extends well beyond radio. Sound is everywhere, on every platform. Streaming, podcasts, time-shifted, interactive radio, live and on-demand. While other media has been disrupted by changing consumer habits and audience fragmentation, radio resists disruption, evolves and brings its superpower forward, finding new channels for growth and new listeners to connect. For those looking to create content for a mass, highly engaged audience at scale, audio is the root of the most viable strategies.

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ADVERTISING MEETS PODCASTING

The most exciting developments in storytelling today are happening on sonic platforms. Legacy media brands are embracing audio to modernize their content strategies. The New Yorker now features many of its articles in audio form, and The New York Times is adapting its news for podcast consumption. How about the cutting edge, new programming, like movies for your ears, coming out of Audacy‘s Cadence13 podcast studio? And the constant outpouring of brilliant new podcasts like Audacy’s Pineapple Street Studio‘s 70 Over 70 and The 11th.

Obviously, the rich relationships between audio, listeners, and content creators makes fertile soil for great advertising. More and more advertisers are migrating from TV and social media to audio. This trend is accelerating in the aftermath of COVID-19 due to the impressive, demonstrated power of audio during the pandemic. Audio listenership remained strong and consistent, and 60% of listeners reported a high degree of trust in their local radio station, more so than any other medium, when it came to updates about the pandemic and public safety. Brands would be lucky to tap into that dynamic, just as they’d be lucky to tap into audio’s unrivaled reach. 230 million people listen to audio every week, making it the top reach medium in the country. The best advertisers know that when reach and engagement can be achieved in a single medium, you double down and meet your consumers where they are listening.

Though listeners, content creators, and advertisers can all find unique benefits from audio that meet their specific needs, everything goes back to the superpower at the heart of sound. Audio forges deep, meaningful connections with people. It has done so since humans first started telling each other stories, and it continues to do so in new ways now. No matter what you might need, sound can help you cut through the cluttered media landscape to deliver a standout message.

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Paul Suchman is chief marketing officer at Audacy, Inc.

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