There is more appetite for information: Nine Radio’s latest research for advertisers

“Talk radio informs, and also helps people make decisions for their lives.”


Talk radio audiences are “informed, knowledgeable, empowered and influential,” according to research presented in the latest ‘It’s Time We Talked’ presentation

“The world has changed, talk radio has changed,” said Ben Fordham, who was part of a panel of personalities in a presentation that revealed new research about Nine Radio’s audience.

Research conducted by The Lab has revealed that nearly one-third of new listeners to Nine’s talk-radio platforms attribute it to increasing their sense of happiness.

Twice as many talk listeners as music radio listeners said the talk medium provides them with a sense of feeling connected to others, while 68 per cent of talk radio listeners use it to understand issues more fully and seek out more than “soundbite” knowledge. This highlights that the audience is both open-minded and seeking to be challenged in its view.

Fordham said Corona virus has “given people a massive appetite for information about what’s going on… Our listeners want to be that person who knows what’s going on.”

Spanning more than 200 video blogs, 20 hours of face-to-face conversations and over 1000 survey respondents from talk radio and commercial FM listeners, the research set out to better understand audience needs, motivations, behaviours and why people listen to talk radio.

Nine Radio Managing Director Tom Malone said: “The objective of this research is to provide deeper insight about what actually drives, motivates and inspires our talk listeners, and how this correlates to the way marketers and media buyers need to think differently about talk radio in the media mix.

“Nearly 80 per cent of respondents said talk radio helps them make sense of the world, which makes for an incredibly powerful proposition for brands to not only engage at a personal level but challenge consumer mindsets.”

Key points from the panel discussion revealing the research included:

  • There is an appetite for information and also a bit of a laugh.
  • Radio hosts have authenticity, it’s a genuine conversation.
  • The talk radio audience are not a stereotype, they are online shoppers, gym members, business owners… A large cashed up audience segment..

Andy Moore, Strategy Director at The Lab Insight and Strategy, said: “What was interesting about this research was how multi-faceted people’s relationship with talk radio is – it plays both a functional and emotional role in people’s lives. They use different shows, presenters and devices to fulfil different needs throughout the day.

“It was also interesting to learn how people’s relationship with talk radio evolved over the year. For many, especially the younger or newer listeners, they came into the format looking for information, news updates and big-event coverage but stayed for the in-depth analysis, expert opinion, slices of life and feelings of connection it gave them to others in their community.”


At the moment, many people want to talk about small business at the moment and how they will recover from the pandemic. “Brands have found a natural fit to what we are talking about.
There are natural business partners who want to advertise and be part of that content.”
For example, Russel Howcroft discussed the example of a 3AW advertiser, Budget Direct, that created a campaign to help listeners get the best insurance deal and get the chance to win cash if they use Budget Direct. “It allowed us to start a great conversation on air and also presented a great commercial opportunity,” said Howcroft.

With Nine Rado’s GfK ratings heading in the right direction, Key shifts identified in the research include:

1. Cultural Tension > Talk as Resolution

• 2020’s dystopia, loneliness and lack of substance in human connections has created a connection deficit among Australians. Respondents turned to talk radio as an antidote, with over 49 per cent feeling more connected and 55 per cent feeling more involved and stimulated from listening. The research also identified an uplift in new listeners’ mood triggered by talk radio content.

2. Open-Minded

• The profile of listeners to talk radio is mixed, with progressive listeners now accounting for 24 per cent of respondents. Some 33 per cent of all respondents highlighted a desire to be challenged by the content they are served. The research also identified a shift in listener demography, highlighting a younger, increasingly affluent audience, with growth in key ethnic groups.

3. Audio Explorers

• Talk radio is guiding listeners to explore audio options across more digital platforms than FM music radio (49 per cent versus 30 per cent). This digital exploration is also opening up their talk radio options, with 21 per cent highlighting that they listen to more than one Nine Radio talk station.

4. Community Evangelists

• Talk radio was a clear connector for listeners to their communities, a means to want to help others, support local business and give something back. Respondents attributed talk radio to being more influential over major life purchases, financial contributions to ongoing costs and larger purchases. Listeners also said this information

5. It’s an Emotional Thing

55 per cent of respondents said they listened for the human stories and insights into people’s lived experiences, 69 per cent believed more than ever that the role of talk radio provided a voice for Australian people, and 37 per cent listen because it makes them laugh.

The implications for advertisers/brands from this research includes:

  • Respect the Listener

Show don’t tell, remember they are discerning, value credibility, and want to learn. It’s a broader church than it once was.

  • Embrace the Conversation
    Leverage the trusted, warm relationships talk stations and hosts have nurtured with listeners, and use key levers like inform, explain and humour to start conversations.

  • Empower Consumers to be Vocal
    Leverage talk radio’s power to enhance and enrich their lives – listeners want to be challenged, so provide them with a proposition worth challenging. They want to help spread the word, so impart knowledge worth sharing with their community.




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