SoCal Radio’s ‘Value’ To The Auto Industry: Strong


Nielsen, in partnership with the Southern California Broadcasters Association, recently measured the effectiveness of local auto dealer campaigns in Los Angeles and San Diego. You think the published results point to problems regarding effectiveness, ROI and the overall dissatisfaction of radio stations in the two markets?

Of course not.

The findings come straight out of the SCBA’s “most comprehensive and exclusive automotive research study to date,” and they make radio look rosy.

Named “The Real Value of Southern California Radio to the Automotive Industry,” the research study marks the second project SCBA and Nielsen Audio have teamed on.

Some 900 radio listeners between the ages of 21 and 64 participated in the study, which saw them listening to multiple auto dealer ads taken from campaigns featuring :60s promoting summer 2018 specials. The radio campaigns ran continuously through the data collection period of June 29 and August 9; the Riverside-San Bernardino market was not included. The total sample contains 287 “Auto Intenders” — those planning an auto purchase in the next 12 months.

A Control Group and an Exposed Group were created.

This is telling, as the representative sample of adults aged 21-64 who were not exposed to the audio ads airing on local radio is 312; the sample of respondents who were exposed to the auto dealer ads was 303.

However, among “Auto Intenders” the exposure gives the report a boost, suggesting that those interested in purchasing a vehicle are more likely to listen to the radio.


The Nielsen/SCBA study also sheds light on who wasn’t exposed to the auto ads by gender.

Men in Southern California were far less likely (37%) than women to hear the ads.

Meanwhile, millennials — yes, that group — were most likely, regardless of gender, to hear the audio ads, compared to adults aged 35 and older.

What were the key findings of this report?

  • Broadcast radio drives online research to both search engines and dealer websites
  • Broadcast radio significantly improves consumer perception of dealer brand health
  • Broadcast radio increases dealer visits and purchase
  • Broadcast radio’s creative messaging (words and phrases) increases relevance

The conclusion: Radio listeners are key potential auto leasers or buyers.


Among the other findings was the declaration that some 57% of total radio listeners and some 71% of Auto Intenders felt the radio ads “made them think the dealer is different from the rest.”

Neither Nielsen nor the SCBA elaborated on the intent of its question, or what this finding represents with respect to likelihood to purchase.

Positive results on auto dealer favorability were also shared, along with how broadcast radio drives (no pun intended) digital action.

The full study is available for download here:

RBR+TVBR OBSERVATION: Here we go again. Radio is awesome. Radio works. Radio drives auto sales, and how important is that when the auto industry is in a slump … right?! Ugh … Even worse is the flowery coverage given to this story by the iHeart PR Blog, you know, the one’s “inside” the Radio Has No Problems Industry of Self Promotion, conveniently located within the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas.

If automotive and radio go together so well, then why are Salem Media Group shares at $3.06 as of 2:25pm Eastern on Monday — a price not seen since February 2012?

How about Entercom’s $6.87 share price, or Beasley at $6.78 a share?

This marketing piece showcasing radio’s power is nice. Now, SCBA and Nielsen need to get the NAB or RAB or someone with some money to place a nice digital ad on,, and in Investor’s Business Daily that looks just as great as this PDF, being distributed to … radio industry trades?

We know radio works, although this study focuses on some of the biggest auto driving markets in America. Now, tell the people in Midtown Manhattan, who do listen to the radio but discount it because the industry has done a piss-poor job of touting its benefits to the people that matter.