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jacobsmedia-reasons-for-listening-to-radio-may2012.jpgMany AM/FM radio listeners tune in as a result of emotional drivers, finds Jacobs Media in a survey of more than 57,000 US and Canadian listeners, released in April 2012. 37.5% of respondents said that wanting to get in a better mood was a main reason for listening, while a further 41.3% indicated this to be an important reason. Similarly, almost one-third said that a main reason for listening is that radio keeps them company, while more than one-quarter indicated a primary reason to be a desire to escape the pressures of everyday life. Overall, the most common primary reasons given by respondents for listening to AM/FM radio were to hear their favorite songs (53.3%), because they like particular DJs, shows, or hosts (40.4%), and because they like to work with the radio on (38.8%).

Radio a First Occasion for 4 in 10

The emotional connections provided by radio may be one reason why it’s the first medium that many respondents turn to on a daily basis. Indeed, when asked the first media activity they engage in after waking up, 26.6% say that turning on an AM/FM radio at home is first, while 16.7% report first turning on an AM/FM radio in their car. TV is also prevalent, with one-quarter of respondents indicating this to be their first media activity of the day, with the only other activity to reach double-digits being checking email (12.9%).

Lifestyle Changes to Blame for Drop in Listening

Data from Jacob Media’s “Techsurvey 8” indicates that 22% of respondents say they’re listening to more AM/FM radio when compared to last year, while 12.6% say they are listening to less. The most common main reason given for listening to less radio was a lifestyle change (less time, job, personal reasons), by one-third of this subset of listeners. Interestingly, this was the main reason for far more of these respondents than adoption of other media. For example, only 10.7% said that spending more time on the internet was a main reason for listening to less AM/FM radio, while just 4.8% said watching more TV was a primary reason.

According to a GroupM report released in April 2012, TV remains the dominant medium among US adults by daily time spent (55%), with radio occupying 20% of consumers’ media time. An eMarketer report released in December 2011 pegs the share of time spent held by these media at 42.2% and 10.9%, respectively.

Other Findings:

  • 92.1% of the Jacobs Media respondents said they listen to AM/FM radio for at least one hour every weekday. Although a plurality (29.2%) indicated that they listen for 3-5 hours a day, an impressive 1 in 4 said they listen to AM/FM radio for 8 hours or more on the average weekday. In fact, more respondents spend 8 hours or more listening to AM/FM radio on an average weekday than spend 8 hours or more on the internet (24.6% vs. 20.6%).
  • The most common way in which respondents interact with their radio station is through receiving emails from them (37.1%), while 25.6% say they regularly visit the station’s website, and 20.3% say they regularly participate in and try to win a contest. Close to 1 in 5 interact regularly with their station over Facebook.

About the Data: The Jacobs Media survey was fielded from January 31 to February 15, 2012. 170 commercial stations from the US and Canada, plus a syndicated show and 2 internet stations, participated. Most respondents are members of station email databases. Some responses were gathered via the station’s website or social networking pages. No station contributed more than 4% to the sample. The total respondent sample is 57,358. As a web poll, it cannot replicate all radio listeners nor even each station’s audience.

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