If it feels like radio has been facing competition from more relentless sources than at any time in its nearly 100-year history, it may be interesting to learn that the medium continues to exhibit solid momentum. Almost one in five current listeners report spending more time tuned to AM/FM this year than last, according to Jacobs Media’s TechSurvey 12.
Only one in ten say they are listening less, and nearly six in ten (58%) say they are listening “the same—a lot.” Another 14% indicate they’re listening “the same—not a lot.”
These figures are culled from Jacobs’ annual online survey of 39,503 radio station database members surveyed from Jan. 19-Feb. 22.
Most of radio’s new competitors are jockeying for better headspace in the car and with good reason—half of the survey’s participants say all or most of their AM/FM radio listening takes place in a car. And perhaps most revealing, those percentages are markedly higher among younger-skewing formats such as alternative (65% say all or most of their listening takes place in the car), rhythmic CHR (63%) and CHR (62%). During an average weekday, more than 9 in 10 (93%) of those who spend at least some time in a car listen to AM/FM radio there. Personal music came in a distant second place (cited by 42%), followed by talking on a phone (25%), satellite radio (23%), Pandora (14%), other streaming services (9%), podcasts (7%) and audio books (5%).
Radio’s share of in-car listening on a typical weekday is 66%, followed far away in the rear view by satellite radio (10%), and personal music collections (10%). All other sources had low single-digit percentages, including Pandora, podcasts, other streaming, phone and audio books. AM/FM remains dominant in the car despite the fact that 64% of those surveyed say they’re able to connect a mobile phone or iPod.
And radio remains a dashboard essential, the data shows. Among those planning on buying or leasing a new vehicle (and those who have already done so), nearly 9 in 10 (88%) say it’s very important that it has an AM/FM radio. Still, radio listeners are clearly interested in other entertainment and information sources in the car. Among “very important” features for new car buyers were smartphone connector (66%), Bluetooth (62%), CD player (51%), GPS (45%), wireless internet connection (32%), satellite radio (27%), media system (24%) and HD Radio (23%).