By Fred Jacobs
Jacobs Media deems it “the largest radio tech survey ever conducted.” Its all-format Techsurvey8 collected stats online from 170 North American stations, 12 radio formats and 57,358 listeners in January about the high-tech revolution inundating the broadcast industry. Its bottom line, according to Jacobs President Fred Jacobs: Despite all the gizmos and platforms out there—smartphones, tablets and social media—“focusing on connecting emotionally and meaningfully with listeners is radio’s best avenue toward remaining relevant and vibrant.” Jacobs offers the good news that AM/FM radio still matters plenty to folks, based on “four emotional triggers”: having a radio on at work, helping them get in a better mood, providing companionship, and offering an escape from the pressures of everyday life.
The survey also finds that “far and away,” Pandora is the most popular pure-play Internet option, with 45% of “streamies” listening, topping competitors like iHeartRadio (19%), Spotify (7%), TuneIn Radio (7%) and Slacker Radio (5%). Its users are split as to whether internet pure play is actually considered “radio”: 43% said yep, 49% said nope. Listeners to alternative, Contemporary Christian, country, CHR and Variety Hits are more likely to consider Pandora “radio.”
The survey also taps into broadcasters’ nerve center, exploring in-car listening. Jacobs says radio must protect that area, since more than half of respondents say most of their listening takes place behind the wheel. Some 48% say they’re now able to connect a smartphone or MP3 player in vehicles, while one in 10 is equipped with an entertainment/info system like Ford’s Sync. That is especially true for news/talk and sports/talk fans.
Of greater concern to traditional broadcasters: Nearly six in 10 core listeners start their day with another medium or gadget, rather than listening to radio at home or in the car. TV comes in second to radio overall, while those 18-34 “are more likely to engage with email or Facebook” for their daily media “first occasion.” As well, smartphones, apps and tables continue to gain momentum, while “the social media tidal wave” is ever-burgeoning: eight of 10 core listeners are Facebook junkies, while for sports/talk fans, Twitter is preferred.
Download an “infographic” from the Jacobs survey here.