Australian audiences are turning to radio as a source of information, entertainment, and connection during the COVID-19 crisis, with close to 3 in 4 Australians aged 18 and over listening to radio the same amount or more during the pandemic, according to audience listening figures compiled by GfK and released today by Commercial Radio Australia.
23 per cent of Australians 18+ are now listening to more radio, with the greatest increases in listening seen in younger audiences. Of people aged 18-34, 29 per cent have increased their radio listening, as have 27 per cent of people 35-44. This is compared to 20 per cent of people aged 45-54, 15 per cent of people aged 55-64 and 16 per cent of people 65+
In this rapidly changing landscape, audiences are increasingly looking to radio as a source of accurate, timely information. 72 per cent of listeners agree that they trust radio to give them up-to-date information about COVID-19, with 68 per cent stating that they see radio as a good source of information about COVID-19.
Radio presenters are also seen as providing an additional layer of authenticity and accuracy, with 63 per cent of listeners saying that they trust the information they receive from their favourite radio presenters.
Unsurprisingly, considering increasing Government restrictions, where and how people are consuming radio is evolving. A third of radio listeners (33 per cent ) are now listening to more radio at home, while listening at work remains stable. Interestingly, while 23 per cent of people say they have decreased their in-car listening, 18 per cent in fact report listening to more than before, as social distancing requirements reduce travel via public transport.
When it comes to how they’re listening, growth is evident regardless of their choice of device. People listening to more radio via their respective devices include 52 per cent of smart-speaker listeners, 32 per cent of AM/FM listeners and 27 per cent of DAB+ radio listeners.
“We have seen again and again that radio is an essential service with a vital role to play during emergency situations such as the one we are currently experiencing with COVID-19 and the recent bushfire crisis. Beyond being a source of accurate and up-to-date information, radio is a source of comfort and connectivity for audiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, with many people in isolation or limiting social contact. In fact, 62 per cent of listeners say that radio makes them feel less alone and 64 per cent say that radio keeps them connected with their local community,” said Commercial Radio Australia chief executive officer Joan Warner.
It’s not just radio that has seen changed audience listening habits. Over 1 in 10 Australians are listening to more podcasts during the COVID-19 crisis. Not surprisingly, the news and politics category accounts for 32 per cent of podcast listeners, with comedy not far behind at 31 per cent , reflecting the fact that many Australians turn to audio mediums such as radio and podcasts for information and as a source of escape during a crisis.
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