The Four Radio Listener Types: Xtra Insights

Recently, Xtra Insights interviewed close to 3000 participants across eight countries in the Asia-Pacific region to understand people’s views on music, radio, as well as their general audio consumption habits.

This project focused specifically on people aged 16-39, as this group are considered to be the future of radio, not to mention the perception that the youngest of this demographic isn’t as radio friendly as previous generations.

This study was also an opportunity to gain a better understanding of peoples’ motivations for listening to radio.

From our research we identified four distinct radio listener types:

  • Music Discoverers
  • Content Lovers
  • Passive Listeners
  • Music Mainstreamers

While there were some overlapping characteristics between these listener types, there were clear trends that helped to define each group.


Music Discoverers tend to be on the younger end of the scale and are highly motivated when it comes to seeking out the latest music releases. They prefer music-focussed radio stations and have strong radio TSL.

They’re also more likely to be daily users of streaming music services, with over 50% paying for a service. When asked about music discovery, they have a strong desire to be ahead of the curve, which was also evident in their early adoption of new technologies.

Content Lovers were dominated by males and prefer radio stations with an equal mix of music and creative content. When we looked at the motivators for Content Lovers in mature radio markets, the shows and announcers held more importance. Whereas those from developing radio markets were driven to listen by a desire to stay informed with what’s happening in their local community.

This group were less likely to use streaming music services daily; however, they were still regular users of streaming music services. Their love of content extended to podcasts too, with over 50% listening to a podcast at least once a week.

Passive Listeners were predominantly female and over the age of 30. When it comes to the type of radio station they listen to, their preference is for an equal mix of music and creative content.

While this group had very high Radio TSL, their key motivators to listen were radio’s convenience of being an ‘easy option’ as well as the company it provides. Not surprisingly, this group were also slower to adopt new technologies.

Last but certainly not least, the Music Mainstreamers were the biggest group. As the name suggests, this group prefer listening to music-focussed radio stations, particularly those playing mainstream hits. Their main motivation to listen is to hear music they already know and like. They’re also heavy users of streaming music services and big consumers of music in general, with almost 90% listening to music from a source other than radio every day.

While these groups display defining characteristics, it’s not to say that radio listeners cannot move throughout these groups as they age, and their lifestyles change. In fact, our research suggests that these listener groups are fluid and radio listeners will often journey through these listener groups over their lives.

This is the fifth in a series of six research articles from Xtra Insights. See below for previous articles.  
About the Author

Hannah joined the team at Xtra Insights in 2016, bringing with her a passion for data research and analysis. Since joining Xtra, Hannah has worked on a number of research projects in Australia and overseas and enjoys applying her skills within the media and entertainment industry.

As Project Coordinator, Hannah is involved in many facets of the company from marketing to music research. She is an integral part of the regional radio surveys team, helping to coordinate the release of multiple ratings surveys each year.

Xtra Insights specialise in media research. Xtra translates data into actionable insights. As an innovation leader, Xtra works with some of the biggest media companies around the world, using cutting edge methodologies to engage with their audiences. For more information head to





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