smartphone in Jeans

There may be a growing number of options for accessing podcasts but the runaway winner in the race remains the smartphone. Nearly eight in ten weekly podcast listeners say they listen to shows on their phone, according to findings from Jacobs Media’s TechSurvey 2019. “Ultimately it is the smartphone that is the main conduit to listening to podcasts—and even smart speakers are now beginning to actually come on when it comes to podcast consumption,” Jacobs Media President Fred Jacobs said on a webinar last week.

Because more drivers have the ability to link their phone with their vehicle dashboard, the number of people who say they listen to podcasts on their in-dash audio system is growing too. Jacobs says that more than one-in-five of those surveyed do so. The data shows that it now makes in-vehicle the most common listening location with half of those surveyed saying they listen to podcasts either while behind the wheel or riding in a car.

“All roads lead back to the car whether we’re talking about radio or podcasting,” Jacobs said. “The number one listening location for regular podcast listeners is in fact a vehicle followed by people who are hanging around the house doing stuff, people’s hanging out and doing nothing and people who are at work. But again, the number one consumption point is in fact the car.”

Looking at how core radio listeners divide their audio time on the road, AM/FM has a 59% share of in-car media use on an average weekday. But in a somewhat surprising finding, satellite radio came in second place with 18%. Part of the reason why satellite radio does so well is it’s as easy to listen to in the car as broadcast radio, Jacobs surmised. After that it was owned music (9%), streaming audio such as Pandora and Spotify (5%) and podcasts (4%).

“Podcast were made for mobile,” Jacobs Media COO Bob Kernen said. “Having your station’s podcasts available in your mobile app is the easiest way for your listeners to engage with them, find them, and to consume that content.”

Apple Car Play and Android Auto are still in the early stages of in-car penetration with just 9% of survey respondents having the Apple interface in their vehicle and 7% for Android Auto. But satisfaction levels are high with almost two thirds of owners saying they “love” or “like” using Apple CarPlay and six in ten staying the same about Android Auto.

“The car is changing rapidly, how people bring their content into their cars is critically important,” Fred Jacobs said. “You need an in-car plan that involves mobile and ultimately voice.”

Techsurvey2019 was fielded from January 3 - February 3 with 50,652 participants mostly fielded from the databases of 519 radio stations in the U.S. and Canada. Respondents are largely commercial radio users. Responses were collected online and weighted using Nielsen market population data. Because the survey was conducted entirely online, it is not representative of all radio listening or even each participating radios station’s audience. In addition, it is not stratified to the U.S./Canadian populations.