The Current State of Radio Listeners

Author: Annette Malave, SVP/Insights, RAB

Coming off a holiday weekend, it is a reminder of the way things used to be. Very little about this year has been usual so far. Everything is different and continuously changing. This is now the new normal – constant change, shifts and analysis into what consumers are thinking, doing and plan on doing.

According to a recent custom Nielsen survey, 55% of adults are “ready to go.” People are eager to get things back on track and back to normal – or whatever the new normal is. What about radio listeners? How do radio listeners feel, and what are their plans?

According to June data from an MRI-Simmons COVID-19 survey, radio listeners have a good outlook on the future. Sixty-three percent of radio listeners believe that the economy will be about the same or better next year. Their perspective is unique, because less than half state that COVID-19 has had somewhat of a personal impact on their lives, and over half believe that they will do things that they used to do again.

When targeting and reaching radio listeners, it is important to understand their views and opinions – about all current events. Radio listeners have expectations of the stations they listen to and the brands they buy.

Radio listeners expect their local radio stations to share ways to keep community members safe and have conversations with listeners and community leaders about what is going on where they live. Radio listeners also want stations to report only relevant facts. This is based on results of a NuVoodoo survey on civil unrest and protest from a panel of 6,100 respondents in late June.

When it comes to brands, listeners have an important message – take care of your people. Based on the MRI-Simmons data, 85% of radio listeners agree that it is important that the brands they buy and retailers they shop support their employees. Advertising is crucial during these times, as more than three-quarters of listeners believe that it is important for companies and brands to continue to advertise during this time. Radio listeners are loyal to their brands. Nearly 8 in 10 radio listeners will return to their favorite brands once COVID-19 is over.

There’s no doubt that things are changing. The events that have taken place in the past few months have shifted everyone’s behavior, if even just a little. Despite all the changes, people continue to listen to radio, and radio listeners are tuning in more across platforms. Eighty-nine percent are listening the same or more via traditional methods or via online.

During these unusual times, people want something that provides them with comfort. People still need to feel a connection – a connection to what they used to do and what they continue to do in the future.


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