Is a Radio Broadcasting Degree Still Relevant?
March 15, 2015
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In a world of streaming Internet audio and a consumer market overwhelmingly turning toward services such as iTunes and Amazon to purchase music, is a radio broadcasting degree still relevant? This is a tough question to answer, especially since radio has received a bad rap over the past decade. Many have said that no one listens anymore, that radio broadcasting no longer helps sell music and that listeners are tired of commercials.
However, according to TuneCore, radio is the "single most effective way to reach a large audience and build awareness for an artist's song." Because radio is still the go-to option for AM/FM play in the car, at home and at other places where streaming media typically isn't used, it remains relevant. Therefore, obtaining a radio broadcasting degree is something to consider.
While it's true that there are more outlets and platforms to obtain music — many of which also have ads — there is no single medium for local and national bands that compares to college radio, commercial FM stations and other forms of terrestrial airwaves.
The numbers prove it. According to Radio Advertising Bureau data featured in Just Media, 2012 revenues totaled $16.5 billion. By 2013, digital accounted for $767 million, or just 8 percent, of the radio industry's total revenue.
Who Is Listening?
Just Media reports that 92 percent of consumers in the United States age 12 and up listen to radio at least once a week. Radio stations that broadcast Top 40 hits reach 72 million each week, according to TuneCore, while rhythmic pop songs reach 43 million and alternative rock hits reach 10 million. Companies pay big bucks to radio broadcasters to reach those millions of people, which helps terrestrial radio thrive.
By selling advertising to businesses that want to target a variety of potential customers across a massively eclectic and diverse demographic, radio broadcasting is still relevant in an age where music is widely available on alternative platforms.
Those interested in radio broadcasting who go for their degrees generally start learning about how to produce, whether they're writing and performing commercials in a digital studio or writing and developing professional news copy. Students also learn key business aspects of broadcasting, station management, sales, marketing and basic forms of broadcast journalism and production.
If you're interested in a career in broadcast radio, many degree programs are available that provide the tools necessary to learn how put together a broadcast-ready radio program. This ultimately helps students engage with the industry equipped with the knowledge and skill set needed for radio broadcasting.
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