More people turned to ‘trusted’ radio in lockdown

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RAJAR, the body responsible for measuring radio audiences in the UK, has released a new report, exploring how radio listening changed during different periods of lockdown and highlighting the strengths of the medium.

The new report says the number and length of listening sessions remains higher than before lockdown with almost a third of those asked listening to more radio than before. Using data from Global, Bauer, the BBC and RAJAR’s own tracking panel, the report showcases the important roles radio has played for listeners from the time they were told to stay at home in March through to being able to enjoy some initial sense of normality in June.

The analysis reveals how radio listening behaviour reflected the public’s unease in early lockdown, with speech and news stations favoured more at the time as people turned to radio as a trusted source of information and reassurance. With many people staying home, almost 88% of listening occurred at home in early April, while weekend listening hours increased by 11% compared to Q1 2020. The report also identifies shifting habits such as a later breakfast audience peak.

Concluding the timeline of its report in June, RAJAR notes that listening has remained higher than it was prior to lockdown, with the number and length of listening sessions remaining higher than before. Almost a third of those asked claimed to be listening to more radio than before and give the reasons that they ‘still have more time’ and to ‘provide them with background noise at home’ as the main reasons for this.

RAJAR asked panel participants their thoughts on whether radio was rising to the challenge of informing and entertaining listeners through this difficult period, reporting that there was an overwhelming amount of positivity in the comments – from people feeling that their mental health benefited from tuning in, to radio being perceived as the most trustworthy source of news regarding the crisis.

The findings reflect those published in Radiocentre’s recent report, Commercial Radio: A force for good, which looked at the important public value our sector has provided during the coronavirus pandemic, including increased news output and community and charity support.

Siobhan Kenny, Radiocentre CEO, said: “RAJAR’s new Listening in Lockdown report is welcome insight into how radio has been a constant presence for listeners during this difficult period. We know that radio is a companion and a comfort in times of need, as well as the most trusted medium for news and information. Throughout the coronavirus crisis radio has been all of those things and more to more people than ever.”

Read the report on RAJAR’s website.

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