Bill Virgin's Radio Beat September 20, 2007

Includes archive of Bill Virgin's columns fromJ une 2006 - March 2009

Bill Virgin's Radio Beat September 20, 2007

Postby radiofan » Wed Sep 19, 2007 4:26 pm

On Radio: Alcohol ads spill into young ears

Four years ago the alcoholic beverage industry voluntarily pledged to refrain from advertising on radio programs that had large audiences of young listeners.

So how well is the industry doing in living up to that pledge?

Not well, either nationally or in Seattle.

That's the conclusion of a report issued this week by the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at Georgetown University, which commissioned a study of the placement of alcoholic beverages (including beer, wine, hard liquor and "alcopops") in 28 large radio markets, using 2006 data.

The voluntary agreements call for alcohol marketers to avoid programs for which the youth audience, defined as listeners 12 to 20 years old, is 30 percent or more. Ratings service Arbitron only measures listeners 12 and above; the report notes that the youth audience could be much larger than the stated figures (about 15 percent for Seattle).

One out of every 12 alcohol ads nationally was on programming with a youth audience greater than that 30 percent target, the report says. Eighteen brands, out of 143, placed 20 percent or more of their ads on programming with youth audiences above 30 percent.

But the exposure of young listeners to alcohol ads may be even greater than those numbers indicate, the report adds, because more than a third of ad placements were on programs with youth audiences greater than their share of the population.

Seattle was one of the top five markets (it ranked second) in which "more than half of alcohol product advertisements were placed when youth were more likely to hear them, on a per capita basis, than adults," the report says. Seattle ranked fifth among all markets for alcohol ad placements on programming with more than 30 percent youth audience.

The report does note that total spending on alcohol advertising on radio has declined steadily during the past five years, by 38 percent nationally. Spending by beer and ale marketers, by far the largest category, actually has increased; hard-liquor ad spending is down 84 percent over the period, while wine spending is down 30 percent. Media Monitors, which tracks advertising by brand, category and market, says banks and car dealers are much larger advertisers on radio than alcoholic beverages.

But Tom Taylor, editor of the Radio-Info newsletter, wrote this week that the study "may well increase the pressure on beer and other advertisers to pull back from CHR (contemporary hits radio), rock, urban and other stations that have a substantial cadre of under-21 listeners -- despite the fact that this is all voluntary, and that under-agers can't legally buy the products they hear advertised."

The center's report says that for all the talk of the loss of the youth audience to TV, the Internet or iPod-like devices, radio is still a critical medium for them. "Young people ages 12 to 17 are the most likely to be listening from 7 p.m. to midnight and our findings show that alcohol ads are still finding their way to too many young ears," David Jerrigan, the center's executive director, said in a statement.

The National Association of Broadcasters had no immediate reaction to the report, nor had the Association of National Advertisers, although the latter group has in the past criticized the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth for its research methods and for ignoring public service campaigns on alcohol abuse the industry has run.

Advertisers also have questioned the center's definition of "youth-oriented" programming, noting that programming aimed at adults, such as sports, may draw sizable youth audiences.

The Beer Institute, citing its advertising code of buying ad time only "where at least 70 percent of the audience is reasonably expected to be 21 and older," said that member companies will adjust their ad-time purchases if updated Arbitron data show that a program has dropped below that level.

The report recommends more monitoring, "with performance reported by brand." It also notes past recommendations by other groups that the alcohol beverage industry adopt a 25-percent threshold and move to a 15-percent benchmark for youth audiences.

In other radio notes:

Jodi Brothers, at one time part of Andy Savage's team on KNDD-FM and the old KRQI-FM, has joined Marty Riemer's morning show at KMTT-FM (103.7).

Former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich, author of the new book "Supercapitalism," is the guest on "Weekday" at 9 a.m. Thursday on KUOW-FM (94.9).

Actor Alan Alda is the guest on "Weekday" at 9 a.m. Friday on KUOW-FM.

"Audioasis" is broadcast live from The Crocodile at 6 p.m. Saturday on KEXP-FM (90.3) with performances by Das Llamas and Joy Wants Eternity.

Liz Sommars' guests on "Conversations" at 6 a.m. Sunday on KISW-FM (99.9) and KKWF-FM (100.7) and 7 a.m. Sunday on KNDD-FM (107.7) include local writer Greg Bear, author of "Quantico."

Don Riggs' guests on "Introspect Northwest" at 6 a.m. Sunday on KMPS-FM (94.1) and 9 a.m. Sunday on KPTK-AM (1090) include Vince Poscente, author of "The Age of Speed."

The Sunday edition of Jim French's "Imagination Theatre," heard at 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday on KIXI-AM (880), includes a new Harry Nile mystery.

P-I reporter Bill Virgin can be reached at 206-448-8319 or

Bill Virgin's Radio Beat every Thursday in the Seattle P-I
Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who couldn't hear the music.
User avatar
Advanced Member
Posts: 11426
Joined: Sun Apr 16, 2006 1:24 pm
Location: Keremeos, BC

Return to Seattle / Washington State Radio News

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest