Presentations: NFCB 2016

Mobile Device Access: An Opportunity for Audience Growth

Radio Rethink's 2016 NFCB Presentation

Radio Rethink was invited to present as part of the "Makers" series during the 2016 National Federation of Community Broadcasters conference. Our focus, as always, was on emphasizing the tremendous growth potential for community radio in the mobile space. Half of that presentation focused on a basic introduction to optimization techniques such as responsive design, content delivery network usage, and implementing social sharing options. The first half was all about trends with mobile audiences. Here are some takeaways from that portion of the presentation with updated statistics.

1. Mobile Audience

You're probably already aware that mobile should be a large part of your organizational strategy moving forward. But if you need convincing, just take a look at these statistics from the Pew Research Center Survey through 2016.

77% of U.S. adults own a smartphone, up from 35% in 2011. 51% of U.S. adults own a tablet, up from just 3% in 2010. Those are some skyrocketing trends. Meanwhile, laptop and desktop computer ownership has, at best, stagnated. In fact, smartphone growth has nearly matched the ownership percentage of laptop and desktop computers.

Percentage U.S. Adults Mobile Device / Desktop / Laptop Ownership 2004 - 2011



Laptop / Desktop 

Percentage U.S. Adults Mobile Device / Desktop / Laptop Ownership 2011 - 2016



Laptop / Desktop 


Along with the overall agressive adoption rates among U.S. adults, there are also some surprising trends within the 18-29 year old category - the future of community radio listeners and participants.

The Pew Research Center Mobile Fact Sheet from January 12, 2017 showed that 100% of all 18-29 year olds own a cellphone and that 92% owned a smartphone.

Additionally, mobile device usage data from a now ancient study from Mary Meeker, KPCB of Millennial Smartphone Behaviour (USA 2014) highlighted the following:

  • 87% agree “My smartphone never leaves my side, day or night.”
  • 80% agree “When I wake up, the first thing I do is reach for my smartphone”

But it's not just millenials, as of the same January 12, 2017 report, 74% of U.S. adults age 50-64 now own smartphones - what many view as the younger side of the community radio base.

2. Mobile Activity

A Pew Research Center Survey from October 3-27, 2014 showed encouraging activity trends for community radio on mobile devices. High numbers of U.S. adults, particularly younger adults, are using smartphones and tablets to find exactly the kind of information that community radio provides every day.

Unfortunately, for many community radio stations, that valuable content only exists over the airwaves - largely disconnected from mobile devices. Many stations simply don't have the resources to invest in the expanding mobile opprtunities that are happening all around them. That's exactly where Radio Rethink's mobile player can help. Even for stations that aren't able to take advantage of persisting their news stories in our player through an RSS feed, our player can at least optimize their live broadcasts to be easily accessible by modern mobile devices.

Need a mobile-friendly player?

Share This Post: