Radio Bite: Adapting and soaring

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Radio is a powerful and often underused platform for advertisers. During these unprecedented times our Radio Bites series will give compelling reasons for brands to continue to be heard on the airwaves and why consumers will be listening.

Throughout the year, our Covid-19 research waves have looked into the listening and spending habits of commercial radio audiences, and how they’ve changed in lockdown, out of lockdown, and now back in lockdown again.

The research has shown repeatedly how radio continues to be a source of companionship and emotional support throughout the global pandemic. In our latest research, 90% of respondents said they listened to commercial radio because “it keeps me company”, while 82% agreed “it makes them happy,” and nearly 85% said listening to the radio “improves my mood.” All of these measures have increased since the original study in April, suggesting that radio is playing a valuable role in supporting people’s mental wellbeing during enforced isolation.

This goes some way to explaining why listening figures in November remain higher than before, with more than a third of commercial radio listeners tuning in for an extra one hour and 53 minutes each day compared to the period before the April lockdown.

The biggest increase in listening is among people who have been forced to work from home throughout the coronavirus crisis. Some 40% of them tuned in for an extra 128 minutes a day in November. The new research also identified a new group, called Adaptors, who returned to work over the summer at the end of the first lockdown but have gone back to working from home or on to furlough for November’s lockdown. Some 43% of adaptors are listening to an extra 124 minutes of radio each day compared to before the April lockdown.

Radio stations, like their audiences, have adapted throughout the pandemic. They will continue to be there for listeners to turn to, and for advertisers to use as a far-reaching platform to share important messages.

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