Nearly nine in 10 radio listeners consumed as much or more radio over summer as they do during the rest of the year, as surging Omicron outbreaks disrupted holiday and travel plans, according to the fifth annual GfK Summer Listening report released recently.
The study found 91 percent of listeners consider radio a great source of information over summer, and while many were forced to spend time in isolation due to COVID, 66 percent listened to radio to feel connected.
“Radio is synonymous with an Aussie summer, and while this was a particularly challenging summer for many people, they stayed connected to their communities through radio,” said Joan Warner, chief executive officer of industry body Commercial Radio Australia.
The research showed radio consumption has remained at high levels across the past five seasons the research has been conducted.
The first survey in 2018 found 88 percent of listeners listened to as much or more radio over summer, with a dip to 85 percent in 2019 before rising back to 88 percent in 2021 and 89 percent in summer 2022.
“The summer listening trend has proven to be consistent both pre- and post-COVID, through emergencies such as floods and bushfires, and whether people are at home or away from home,” Ms Warner said.
Despite the impact of COVID on movement and spending this year, 89 percent of radio listeners said radio kept them informed when out and about and 65 percent said they listened to radio at their holiday destination.
Radio listeners also spent more than non-listeners – 29 percent of radio listeners spent more on groceries in summer compared to 16 percent of non-listeners, while 16 percent spent more eating out, compared to 7 percent of non-listeners.
An interesting trend to emerge this year was the increase in radio listening among younger listeners across different locations and on different devices.
Twenty-five percent of those aged 10-24 listened to more radio over summer, with 27 percent listening more in the car, 20 percent listening more at home, 17 percent listening more at the beach and 14 percent listening more at work.
The under-25s were also more likely to listen with other people and believe radio enhances time spent with family and friends. One in three (35 percent) said they had discussed what they heard on radio with others.
In a sign of the continuing growth in digital listening, 40 percent of this age group used a smartphone to listen over summer, compared to 57 percent who listened on an AM/FM radio.
Among those aged 40-64, one in five listened to radio on a smartphone and 16 percent listened to more radio at home this summer. Ninety-three percent of listeners in this older age group said radio is a great source of entertainment over summer, 76 percent said radio is a great companion.
Listeners in regional Australia particularly value radio for news and information. More than one in two regional listeners said they listen to radio for breaking news, while 76 percent rely on radio in emergency situations such as adverse weather events, and 66 percent said radio is the place they turn to for updates on local news and events.
The GfK Radio Insights Summer Listening report is an online survey with a nationally representative sample of 1274 Australian respondents aged 10+, conducted from January 10 – 21, 2022. For more information click here.