Westwood One and Mediaprobe Reveal Impactful Insights on Radio Advertising

We are thrilled to share the results of the recent groundbreaking collaboration with Pierre Bouvard, Chief Insights Officer, and the team at Cumulus Media | Westwood One Audio Active Group®. Our joint study aimed to unlock the power of audio, focusing on the effectiveness and emotional impact of radio advertising.


In a first-of-its-kind analysis, we measured the second-by-second emotional reactions of our U.S. MPanel to pre-recorded AM/FM radio segments in various genres. The goal? To determine the effectiveness of audio and the emotional impact of radio advertising by understanding the overall strength of ad engagement, brand fit, and recall of AM/FM radio ads and comparing radio benchmarks against our U.S. TV norms.


With 227 adult participants aged 18+, the study ran from June 26 to July 7, 2023. The findings unearthed key insights that highlight the importance of considering radio as an impactful communication platform.


  • AM/FM radio programming proved to be +13% more engaging than Mediaprobe’s TV norms in the U.S. 
  • The Emotional Impact Score (EIS) of AM/FM radio advertising surpassed TV advertising by an impressive +12%.
  • AM/FM radio News emerged as the most impactful genre (vs. Urban, News, Adult Contemporary, and Rock/Oldies), providing a high-quality advertising environment (+14% compared to TV News benchmark and +8% compared to overall AM/FM radio). Once again – not all impressions are equal; ads in high-quality contextual environments were found to garner increased emotional impact and brand recall.
  • Mediaprobe’s audio benchmarks underscored the significance of sound contrast in driving attention and brand recall. Notably, ads featuring music and jingles excelled in spoken word programming due to the contrast.
  • Creative best practices were also revealed: leverage female voiceovers, incorporate jingles, and ensure five brand mentions for optimal impact.


Chart showing the emotional impact of AM/FM radio advertising pods which outperform TV advvertising by +12%, Source: Westwood One & Mediaprobe Study
Source: Cumulus Media | Westwood One Audio Active Group® report


For brands and advertisers, the implications are clear: to build deep, emotional connections with consumers, structuring ads around the sensory and emotional engagement that AM/FM radio uniquely offers is paramount. The study not only enriches the understanding of AM/FM radio as an advertising medium, but also charts a course for the industry to harness the emotional power of audio content.


To get a comprehensive overview of the study, including the executive summary, presentation deck, and a video showcasing key insights, visit the Westwood One blog.


Do you know how your brand message connects with consumers on TV vs radio? Contact us.

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