New GfK data shows radio consumption is up during isolation

Staff Writer

72% of Australians are listening to as much or more radio during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new figures compiled by GfK and released today by Commercial Radio Australia.

It’s the first set of data commissioned by CRA since the radio industry body announced it would hit pause on surveying listeners after next this Thursday’s results are released.

CRA says Australian audiences are turning to radio as a critical source of information, entertainment, and connection during the COVID-19 crisis, with close to three in four Australians 18+ listening radio the same amount or more during isolation.

From a sample size of 426 radio listeners, 23% of Australian adults are now listening to more radio, with the greatest increases in listening seen in younger audiences.

Radio Today understands that 69% of respondents, who completed the online survey, were from metro markets, with the remaining 31% based in regional Australia.

Of people aged 18-34, 29% have increased their listening, as have 27% of people 35-44. This is compared to 20% of people aged 45-54, 15% of the 55-64 demo and 16% of people 65+.

72% of listeners agree that they trust radio to give them up-to-date information, with 68% stating that they see radio as a good source of information about COVID-19.

Radio presenters are also seen as providing an additional layer of authenticity and accuracy, with 63% of listeners saying that they trust the information from their favourite radio presenters.

Unsurprisingly, considering increasing Government restrictions, where and how people are consuming radio is evolving.

33% of radio listeners are now listening more at home, while listening at work remains stable.

Interestingly, while 23% of people say they have decreased their in-car listening, 18% in fact report listening to more than before, as social distancing reduces public transport.

When it comes to how they’re listening, growth is evident regardless of device.

People listening to more radio via their respective devices include 52% of smart-speaker listeners, 32% of AM/FM listeners and 27% of DAB+ radio listeners.

“We have seen again and again that radio is an essential service with a vital role to play during emergency situations such as the one we are currently experiencing with COVID-19 and the recent bushfire crisis,” said CRA chief executive officer, Joan Warner.

“Beyond being a source of accurate and up-to-date information, radio is a source of comfort and connectivity for audiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, with many people in isolation or limiting social contact.

“In fact, 62% of listeners say that radio makes them feel less alone and 64% say that radio keeps them connected with their local community.”

It’s not just radio that has seen changed audience listening habits. Over one in 10 Australians are listening to more podcasts during the COVID-19 crisis.

Not surprisingly, the news and politics category accounts for 32% of podcast listeners, with comedy not far behind at 31%, reflecting the fact that many Australians turn to audio mediums for information and as a source of escape during a crisis.

Southern Cross Austereo, Nine Radio and Australian Radio Network have also shared sats from their digital assets, showing consumption spikes across podcasts, on-demand and web traffic.

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14 Apr 2020 - 6:22 pm

If 23% are listening to more radio does that mean 28% are listening to less?

Brian Nielsen
17 Apr 2020 - 10:07 pm

A sample size of 426? And conclusions about sub-groups are being pulled out on top of that? Please tell me you’re kidding! Has research really degenerated so badly that basing, then (worse) PROMOTING conclusions from so small a sample across multiple stations is seen as acceptable?


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