March 24, 2020

Amid Crisis, Radio Delivers

By Idil Cakim, SVP of Research & Insights, Audacy

In the reality of COVID-19, our lifestyle and consumption habits have undeniably changed. Audiences are spending an inordinate amount of time with news, treating every update as an indicator of how society is coping and proceeding. In this time of need, live and local radio serves as a nerve center for communities across the nation.

UNIVERSAL REACH | 96%1 of audiences across the nation indicate they have consumed audio content in the past week through an AM/FM radio, mobile or smart speaker. And over 70% of people seeking breaking news on audio, turned to AM/FM radio2.

CAPTURING TV AUDIENCE | In moments of crisis, Radio presents advertisers with a clear advantage over TV. 46.5 million Americans who are unreachable through TV advertising3 (i.e., cord-cutters and cord-nevers who stream TV content), turn to radio for their news and information.

LIVE AND LOCAL CONNECTION | People seek voices they know and trust in trying circumstances. As radio consumption surges, audiences are turning away from disconnected music services. Reports show Spotify4 demand is down 15% and overall double-digit declines permeate algorithmic streaming service listenership.

ENGAGEMENT GROWTH | We also note strong increases in engagement with Entercom’s radio content. As of March 19, week-over-week total listening hours on RADIO.COM news channels was up 21%, setting a record for highest TLH in one day. The trend holds true across:

  • Devices: Mobile (+26%), smart speaker (+20%) and desktop access (+16%) to streaming radio news has had the steepest surge, as the corona crisis escalated.
  • News Stations: Philadelphia’s KYW leads with a 93% increase in listening. Both San Francisco (KCBSa) and NY (WINSa) follow suit, with streaming demand increases of 54%.

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1The Infinite Dial Survey from Edison Research and Triton Digital (March 2020) indicates 97% of US population has an AM/FM radio, mobile or smart speaker. According to NuVoodoo survey of March 18-23, 2020, 96% of audio listeners use these devices.
2NuVoodoo Survey, March 18-23, 2020. Audio listeners are those who tune into AM/FM, stream radio content and/or listen to podcasts.
3Nielsen Scarborough, Market/Release: Scarborough National Database 2019 Release 1 *Update 09-25-2019* Total (Jan 2018 – May 2019) Base: Total Adults 18+ Projected: 253,849,877 Respondents: 205,495, Doesn’t subscribe to TV service AND streams  video content to TV
4Credit Suisse, March, 2020

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