The Sonic Society

Showcasing the very best in new Audio Drama

Who Listens to Audio/Radio Drama?

radiodramaWho listens to Audio Drama anyway? That’s always been the big question we who create new Audio plays always asks. Is this a medium that’s still mostly appreciated by Baby Boomers? Or is it the Gen X’ers who listened to A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and The Star Wars Radio Drama in the eighties which sparked their imaginations for all things audio?

Well, David Farquhar from Moonlight Audio and Voices in the Wind Theatre has some interesting stats.

Without taking up more ink, let’s let David describe his findings.

 

WHO LISTENS TO AUDIO THEATRE? YOU MAY BE SURPRISED!

Audio Theatre or Audio Drama is a dramatized, purely acoustic performance and with no visual component, depends on dialogue, music and sound effects to help the listener imagine the characters and story. As noted by Tim Crook in his book Radio Drama Theory And Practice “It is auditory in the physical dimension but equally powerful as a visual force in the psychological dimension.”

Audio Theatre has been around in one shape or form since the 1880’s when they were listened to on cylinders. It wasn’t until the late 1920’s that audio theatre achieved widespread popularity on the emerging medium of radio. By the 1940s, it was a leading international popular entertainment. With the advent of television in the 1950s, however, audio theatre lost some of its popularity, and in some countries has never regained large audiences. So, does this mean that this once popular art form has just faded away into oblivion? Only listened to by the over 65 crowd?

Now, this is where it starts to get really interesting! By looking at the download demographics we can find the answer as to what age groups are actively listening to and downloading audio theatre.

(The following statistics are derived from Moonlight Audio Theatre’s website traffic and download traffic as calculated by Google Analytics and Moonlight’s Podcast Provider)

DOWNLOADS / LISTENS BY AGE GROUP
18-24 – 27.5%
25-34 – 33.5%
35-44 –15.50%
45-54 – 12.50%
55-64 – 5.50%
65+ 5.50%

As it turns out it’s the under 34 age group that represents the majority of audio theatre listeners at 61% compared to the over 55 age group that represents only 11% of listeners. If you include in the 35-44 age group that percentage increase to 76.5%! The ratio of male to female listeners is approximately the same with males at 54.15% and females at 45.85%.

So clearly, the modern day revival and rejuvenation of this old art form is being driven by a younger demographic and by technology. The visionary media guru Marshall McLuhan once said ‘The medium is the message’ and that medium today is the Internet, Smartphones, Tablets, Apps etc. It’s ‘Cool’ to listen to audio theatre.

Audio Theatre has never faded away; it just keeps morphing with the times. As long as there is a good story to be told, there will always be an audience for this most imaginative and creative art form called audio theatre.

David Farquhar, Producer
Moonlight Audio Theatre
http://www.moonlightaudiotheatre.ca/


About The Author

Born to Teachers and Amateur Audio Enthusiasts in the small rural community of Belwood, Jack's first love was stories- writing, reading, telling, and singing. He developed his acting skills through High School, University, and through film and community theatre. Jack writes the lion's share of Electric Vicuna's Audio Drama scripts and has his own writing site at www.jackjward.com He's thrilled to co-host the Sonic Society with his wonderful, talented, friend David Ault!

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