During these times of uncertainty, knowing the facts is more important than ever. Fortunately for the media industry, multiple studies have been recently fielded and released that shed light on how Americans are relying on AM/FM radio right now.
Here are key findings from three major studies:
Nielsen: To understand the current attitudes and media habits of Americans, Nielsen fielded a 1,000 person perceptual study during the weekend of March 20th through the 22nd via an online survey.
Concern over the Coronavirus is high and Americans are altering their regular activities with varying degrees by region
Nielsen finds that Americans are extremely concerned about the Coronavirus with variations by region. Data also shows that the degree to which Americans have altered their regular activities follows a similar regional pattern:
- Northeast: 49% are extremely concerned and 64% have altered their regular activities
- West: 47% are extremely concerned and 67% have altered their regular activities
- Midwest: 44% are extremely concerned and 54% have altered their regular activities
- South: 41% are extremely concerned and 48% have altered their regular activities
83% of Americans say they are listening more or the same to AM/FM radio because of the Coronavirus outbreak
55% of Americans say they are listening to AM/FM radio the same. 28% say they are listening more. Only 17% are listening less. 26% say they are listening more to audio at home. Across a variety of devices, time spent listening is up.
Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, listeners are seeking out new ways of listening to AM/FM radio
30%-40% of persons 18-54 say they have searched online to find their favorite AM/FM radio stations, programs, or personalities. The same proportion say they have looked for new ways to listen to favorite stations and on-air talent.
AM/FM radio is the trusted source of Coronavirus information
Nielsen finds a majority of Americans say AM/FM radio provides timely and accurate information about the virus outbreak.
Regions with greater concern about Coronavirus show stronger perceptions for AM/FM radio as a vital information source. In the Northeast, 67% agree that they trust radio to give them timely information about COVID-19. In the West, it is 64%. In the Midwest and South, it is slightly more than half.
AM/FM radio hosts and personalities connect during the Coronavirus crisis
In addition to providing vital information about the virus and stores that are open, listeners tell Nielsen that on-air personalities make them feel connected, less stressed, and less alone during this time of social isolation.
Edison Research/Triton Digital: On March 19th, Edison Research and Triton Digital released their Infinite Dial 2020 report. The longest-running survey of digital consumer behavior in America, the Infinite Dial covers mobile behavior, Internet audio, podcasting, social media, smart speakers, and more. While the study was conducted prior to the outbreak, the data serves to illustrate the levels of media consumption prior to the Coronavirus crisis.
96% of American homes can listen to AM/FM radio
Given the recommendations to stay at home, many ask how many U.S. homes can listen to AM/FM radio stations. According to the Infinite Dial, 96% of homes can listen to AM/FM radio.
Among the total U.S. population, 68% of American homes own a radio. Another 8% own a smart speaker but no radio. Lastly, 20% of Americans own a smartphone device but no radio or smart speaker. On a smartphone or smart speaker, listeners are able to stream radio stations from platforms like Radio.com, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and a host of AM/FM radio station apps.
Edison Research: The “Share of Ear” report is the gold standard syndicated study of American audio usage. It provides an in-depth look at how Americans consume audio in a typical day. The report quantifies reach and time spent with all forms of audio.
At home, 86% of time spent with AM/FM radio occurs “over the air” and 14% occurs via stream
According to Edison’s just-released Q4 2019 “Share of Ear” study, despite 27% of American homes having a smart speaker, and 85% of Americans having a smartphone, the vast majority of at-home AM/FM radio listening occurs “over the air.”
- Nielsen: Concern over the Coronavirus is high and Americans are altering their regular activities with varying degrees by region
- Nielsen: 83% of Americans say they are listening more or the same to AM/FM radio because of the Coronavirus outbreak
- Nielsen: Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, listeners are seeking out new ways of listening to AM/FM radio
- Nielsen: AM/FM radio is the trusted source of Coronavirus information
- Nielsen: AM/FM radio hosts and personalities connect during the Coronavirus crisis
- Edison Research/Triton Digital: 96% of American homes can listen to AM/FM radio
- Edison Research: At home, 86% of time spent with AM/FM radio occurs “over the air” and 14% occurs via stream
Pierre Bouvard is Chief Insights Officer at CUMULUS MEDIA | Westwood One.
Contact the Insights team at CorpMarketing@westwoodone.com.