Why We Can’t Do Without Radio

Why do you listen to the radio? 

Is it the music? That’s all available on iTunes. Is it the local news and events? Twitter and Facebook help with that. Do you listen for the weather and traffic reports? Well, there’s an App for that now too.

So why do we still listen to the radio?  Simply put, it’s because of something that can’t be replaced or duplicated with iTunes, social media and apps: it’s the feeling of being connected, of being a part of a community.

One survey conducted by Jacobs Media found four emotional triggers that listeners value about radio:

  • Having a radio on while they work
  • Helping them get in a better mood
  • Providing a feeling of companionship
  • Offering an escape from the pressures of every day life

These emotional triggers become even more powerful because of local radio. By offering local news, traffic and weather reports, information on local events, and even sometimes music by local artists, local radio serves to inform and unify the listeners who feel connected because of this common medium.

Online Streaming

Most radio stations offer live online streaming of their station. As we all know, this allows for tuning in on computers and smart phones without AM/FM listening capabilities. But, did you know that:

  • Nearly 1/3 of adults have listened to online streamed radio and almost 60% of those were local stations
  • Online radio is listened to primarily at home (69%), with steaming at work (23%) being the second most popular location.
  • Younger Canadians are tuning in online: 46% of 18-34 year olds polled reported that they have listened online, and of those 60% listened to a local station at least once a month. (Foundation Research Study 2011)

The Future of Radio

Should traditional radio stations be concerned about digital music, satellite radio, podcasts or social media? With the abundance of music literally at our fingertips, with news breaking first on Twitter, and local events pages created on Facebook – will people continue to listen to the radio?

In short – absolutely!  “Radio has established itself as an important part of everyday life in Canada. This has not changed with the advent of new technologies.  Radio was the original social medium, connecting communities and bringing people together, which is why radio is a natural fit with new social media platforms. It is here that listeners share, discuss and inform themselves about music, current issues or new products. This trend will continue over the next five years, and beyond.” (CBS Newsletter, Summer 2012)

So how can broadcasters continue to ensure that their listeners will continue to tune in to their station?

“…focusing on connecting emotionally and meaningfully with listeners is radio’s best avenue toward remaining relevant and vibrant in the face of new digital competition” (Fred Jacobs, President, Jacobs Media)

Radio still remains a popular medium of choice. Radio reaches 94% of adults 45-64 in Canada each week. (StatsCan 2001 Census). Radio also remains the most popular medium during the work day. There is no sign of this changing anytime soon as radio offers the comfort and sense of community that nothing digital can ever provide.

Image source: dialog.scarborough.com

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