Australian audiences are turning to radio as a critical source of information, entertainment, and connection during the COVID-19 crisis.
According to audience listening figures compiled by GfK for Commercial Radio Australia, close to 3 in 4 Australians 18+ are listening to radio the same amount or more during the pandemic.
On the downside, 23% of people say they have decreased their in-car listening, while 18% in fact report listening to more than before, as social distancing requirements reduce travel via public transport.
Unsurprisingly, considering increasing Government restrictions, where and how people are consuming radio is evolving with a third of radio listeners (33%) now listening to more radio at home, while listening at work remains stable.
23% 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% have increased their radio listening, as have 27% of people 35-44. This is compared to 20% of people aged 45-54, 15% of people aged 55-64 and 16% of people 65+.
In this rapidly changing landscape, audiences are increasingly looking to radio as a source of accurate, timely information. 72% of listeners agree that they trust radio to give them up-to-date information about COVID-19, with 68% 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% of listeners saying that they trust the information they receive from their favourite radio presenters.
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% of smart-speaker listeners, 32% of AM/FM listeners and 27% of DAB+ radio listeners.
CRA chief executive officer Joan Warner, says, “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% of listeners say that radio makes them feel less alone and 64% say that radio keeps them connected with their local community.”
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% of podcast listeners, with comedy not far behind at 31%, 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.