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Jacobs Media's Techsurvey10 Finds Radio Occupying "Both Sides of the Digital Tipping Point"


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Jacobs Media's latest survey of radio listeners, Techsurvey10, finds that “radio is on both sides of the tipping point." That sounds painful but, as it turns out, they're saying that many listeners are still tuning in to broadcast aka terrestrial radio via traditional sources while a growing number are listening to those stations digitally. It's one of the more interesting points of a survey which I feel could use a glossary for those of us who find radio important to the music industry but aren't part of the radio industry.

Jacobs Media's Techsurvey10 surveyed “core radio listeners" to compare differences in listening to “traditional radio broadcasters" (I'm assuming terrestrial radio aka AM/FM) and listening to “digitally delivered" radio (which I'm assuming means Sirius XM and web radio though Sirius XM's status is unclear in this survey as reported).

The report looks across 11 radio formats and 5 generations while surveying over 37,000 listeners of 199 radio stations. Remember that this research focuses on people who listen to radio and what they say they do.

Techsurvey10 Selected Findings

Findings include a number of interesting points that are also summed up in a pdf slide show:

“Radio is on both sides of the digital tipping point"

Traditional radio is still strong in this group with 95% listening daily. But fewer said they were listening to a minimum of an hour a day while 9 in 10 “say they’re listening to the same amount of radio – or more."

With 17% of that listening occurring via digital channels, I assume they're saying that digital-source listening has kept core radio fans at a similar level overall.

That would be nice to clarify but the bigger point here is that broadcast radio listening is still holding up pretty well while more of those listeners are shifting to digital sources for those stations.

“Pandora is experiencing its own tipping point"

Apparently each year listeners, especially Gen Y and Z, are increasingly complaining about Pandora's ads. “Annoying" is a common complaint.

However they don't seem to have asked if such annoyances are driving away listeners.

“Most radio listening now takes place in the car, especially among fans of Alternative & CHR." (slides p. 11)

Between broadcast radio and the “connected [to the internet] car", radio may be able to maintain that spot.

Techsurvey10 Selected Recommendations

They also share a number of key takeaways and recommendations including:

“Stop doing random acts of digital."

“Radio can’t just show up in new digital spaces, but needs to excel there. Broadcasters need mobile engagement, a competitive stream, and to stop treating social media as a hobby."

“Radio doesn’t have a digital problem – it has a measurement problem."

“It is essential that ratings account for all the different ways that consumers are accessing radio content."

“The music industry ignores radio at its own peril."

“Radio is a powerful force when it comes to new music discovery and artist exposure and promotion. It dominates all other media, and emerges as a trusted source for music consumers."

Note: There are some limits to the study that are included in the Methodology slide at the beginning of their key slides pdf.

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