Companies can stand to reap rewards from creating emotional connections with consumers, and it seems that radio benefits in its own way from emotional triggers. According to a Jacobs Media survey of more than 78,000 radio listeners in the US and Canada, 40% said a main reason for listening to AM/FM radio is to get in a better mood, with another 40% citing this as an important reason. Additionally, about 7 in 10 say that wanting to escape from the pressures of an everyday life is an important or main reason to listen, and about 8 in 10 listen because radio keeps them company.
Overall, the most common main reason given by respondents for listening to AM/FM radio was to hear their favorite songs (53.7%), while 41% say that liking to work with the radio on is a primary reason for listening.
Given its ability to keep them company and improve their moods, many listeners turn to radio as their first media activity of the day. In fact, listening to an AM/FM radio at home (25.2%) or in the care (18.6%) are the top 2 “first occasions” among radio listeners, followed closely by watching TV (18.3%) and checking email (14.2%). Notably, listening to an AM/FM radio at home is the top first occasion even for Gen Z (born in 1993 or later) listeners (19.8%), outdoing even texting (15.7%) and checking Facebook (10.8%). Even among Millennials (born between 1975 and 1992), radio is the leading first occasion, although this time it’s in-car listening taking the top spot (21.5%), ahead of checking Facebook (16.1%) and email (15.4%).
The results paint a picture of a committed radio listener, and in general, respondents say they’re listening to more radio than last year. 18.6% of respondents said they’ve upped their listening over the past year, versus 12.6% saying they’ve cut it down, with a plurality (40.1%) saying they’re listening about the same amount – a lot.
In another positive note for radio: rather than abandon this medium, its youngest listeners appear to be becoming heavier consumers. 36.7% of Gen Z respondents said they’re listening to more radio this year, compared to 16.6% listening less. That net difference of 20% points was the largest of any generation, with Baby Boomers (born between 1965 and 1974; +3%) holding steady the most.
That’s not to say that radio doesn’t suffer from “unforced errors,” as dubbed by the researchers. Among those 1 in 8 respondents listening to less radio this year, slightly more than half said that too many commercials were to blame, while about half said they didn’t enjoy the programming. Comparatively speaking, radio isn’t being cannibalized by other media: few said they were spending less time with radio because they had increased their time on the internet, watching more online video or TV, or playing video games.
About the Data: Jacobs Media’s Techsurvey9 results were gathered online from January 29-February 19, 2013. Overall, 264 broadcast stations across the U.S. and Canada participated, contributing 78,111 respondents.