Podcasts Launched The Radio Star: How Dan Bongino’s Podcast Generated Significant Awareness And Appeal Among U.S. Talk Radio Listeners

March 22, 2021 By Pierre Bouvard

AM/FM radio programmers once fretted about how to find future talent. No longer. Today’s podcast stars offer a rich access to personalities.

A new national study reveals that star podcast hosts like Dan Bongino have significant awareness and strong perceptions. When a podcast star launches their AM/FM radio show, they enjoy a massive head start and strong momentum.

Podcast star to AM/FM radio star

CUMULUS MEDIA | Westwood One commissioned Maru/Blue to conduct a national study on March 18, 2021 of 1,506 Americans. The study revealed the extent to which Dan Bongino has used his podcast platform, social media presence, best-selling books, and TV appearances to build a strong brand among American talk radio listeners. These are the findings:

  • 64% of frequent News/Talk radio listeners are aware of Dan Bongino.
  • 78% of frequent News/Talk radio listeners who are aware of Dan Bongino rate him as excellent/good.

Dan Bongino’s favorability ratings among frequent U.S. talk radio listeners is in the comparable range of hosts who have been on AM/FM radio for decades. This is extraordinary considering that Dan Bongino’s podcast started in 2018 and only began airing on AM/FM radio in the last year.

Westwood One’s Ben Shapiro, a relative newcomer to AM/FM radio, exhibits favorability ratings virtually identical to long-time talk radio talent.

Among Rush Limbaugh fans, Dan Bongino enjoys high awareness and strong favorability

Maru/Blue found that 74% of Rush Limbaugh fans are aware of Dan Bongino and rate him with a positive 70% excellent/good approval score.

In fact, fans of all the major talk radio stars exhibit high awareness of Dan Bongino and a majority rate him as excellent/good. Among listeners who rate Sean Hannity as excellent, 79% are aware of Dan Bongino and 71% rate him as excellent/good.

The Ben Shapiro playbook: Podcast fame leads to AM/FM radio show launch

Dan Bongino is following in the footsteps of Westwood One’s Ben Shapiro whose top-ten-ranked podcast spawned a national AM/FM radio show carried by 256 stations. Currently, 102 AM/FM radio stations carry Dan Bongino’s podcast. Effective this Spring, over three dozen AM/FM radio stations will begin carrying a new three-hour Dan Bongino program.

An AM/FM radio show generates a new audience that is incremental to the podcast audience

The Maru/Blue study found that the Dan Bongino and Ben Shapiro audience either listen to the podcast or the AM/FM radio show. Only one out five listen to both.

Currently about 40% listen only to the podcast. 40% listen only to the Ben Shapiro and Dan Bongino shows on AM/FM radio. About 20% indicate they have listened both to the podcast and the AM/FM radio show in the last month. Advertisers purchasing time on both platforms get the benefit of an entirely unique new audience on each platform.

Dan Bongino’s upscale and educated profile carries over from the podcast to the AM/FM radio show

Nielsen Scarborough’s Podcast Listener Buying Power Study reports that Dan Bongino’s audience profile is employed, upscale, and educated.

The Maru/Blue study reveals that those listening to Dan Bongino’s AM/FM radio program or podcast share a similar profile: upscale, educated, and more likely to be married with children.

Listeners develop loyal relationships with podcast and AM/FM radio personalities based on humor and trust

A 2020 MARU/Matchbox study commissioned by CUMULUS MEDIA | Westwood One of 1,571 respondents explored how listeners feel about AM/FM radio personalities. The results show a strong affinity and trust that advertisers can use to their advantage in audio creative.

  • Comedic relief: 90% of respondents strongly or somewhat agree that their favorite DJs make them laugh.
  • Thought-provoking: 64% agree that they make them think.
  • Strong loyalty: 64% of listeners would follow their favorite DJs to another station if they moved.
  • Like family: 52% consider them to be like friends or family. AM/FM radio continues to prove itself as an important one-on-one form of communication.
  • Host-read ads resonate: 53% say they pay more attention to ads that feature their favorite DJs or personalities.

AM/FM radio personalities drive listener action

Perhaps the most important finding for advertisers? Almost half (46%) of listeners believe that their favorite personalities or shows are opinion leaders that they can trust. Endorsements that build upon this trust are a smart way for advertisers to get results.

Among News/Talk listeners, the appeal and importance of personalities is even greater

63% of News/Talk listeners say on-air personalities are opinion leaders they trust. Four in ten have searched for a product or service that was recommended by a talk radio host.

Best practice: Leverage the appeal and trust of podcast and AM/FM radio personalities to create meaningful audio creative

A Nielsen study of hundreds of podcast campaigns reveals that host-read ads perform the best and drive results. Versus pre-recorded ads, host-read podcast ads generate a +60% greater likelihood to seek information, +50% greater purchase intent, and +50% higher recommendation intent.

Trusted personalities can provide immediate credibility, endorsement, and relevance to ads. Use reliable voices in live reads, endorsements, and recorded spots to build upon the affinity between advertiser and listener.

Key takeaways:

  • When podcast stars like Dan Bongino launch their AM/FM radio shows, they enjoy a massive head start and strong momentum.
  • Two-thirds of frequent News/Talk listeners are aware of Dan Bongino and rate him highly.
  • Among Rush Limbaugh fans, Dan Bongino enjoys high awareness and strong favorability.
  • The Dan Bongino Show audience profile is educated, employed, upscale, and married with kids.
  • The podcast and AM/FM radio audiences of Ben Shapiro and Dan Bongino are distinct. 40% listen only to the podcast or AM/FM radio show. Only 20% listen to both.
  • AM/FM radio and podcast talent have significant audience trust, which generates strong response for advertisers.

Pierre Bouvard is Chief Insights Officer at CUMULUS MEDIA | Westwood One.

Contact the Insights team at CorpMarketing@westwoodone.com.