In a siren call to radio networks, new research reveals 85 per cent of people aged between 15-24 in the US would rather listen to their iPods than to radio.

Researchers at Bridge Ratings conducted a study between July and November 2005. They found that 15 per cent of the 2,800-strong, 15-24-year-old sample group are listening to less radio, preferring to spend time online; however, 63 per cent are spending the same amount of time listening to radio.

With current thinking about the Internet advising community-building and the need to service multiple niche markets, it's noteworthy that 22 per cent of the sample group "would listen more to traditional radio if there was a radio station programmed specifically to them," Bridge Ratings said.

Radio needs to meet the challenge

Bridge Ratings president David Van Dyke told Media Week: "This age group appears to want radio to step up, change for the better and challenge them with a new way of presenting radio that is customised for their lifestyles and tastes."

Music remains the dominant activity. Now 33 per cent of the group now buy music online (18 per cent last year) while 39 per cent of the age group also visit traditional high street record retailers - up from 31 per cent last year.

Over half of those questioned - 55 per cent up from 47 per cent in June - are prepared to pay for music download services. 49 per cent prefer free downloads and 56 per cent of youths in this age group now listen to music online or through a digital music player instead of elsewhere.

The study also found that young people are spending almost a third of their total media time (35 per cent) online (up from 32 per cent): more than watching television (29 per cent), listening to the radio (25 per cent) and reading magazines or newspapers (10 per cent). The average US citizen spends, 22 per cent of their media activity with the Internet.