Study Finds Radio Most Trusted News Source in UK

Radiocentre report shows listeners turn to radio for accurate information in era of ‘fake news’
By James Careless ,

While in the car, 85 percent of U.K. commercial radio listeners pay attention to radio news. Credit: Radiocentre

LONDON — Seventy-seven percent of residents surveyed in the United Kingdom say that they trust radio more than any other medium as their source for accurate national news.

That’s the takeaway from the study “Breaking News: How Listeners Value Commercial Radio News.” Compiled by the research firm “Other Lines of Enquiry” and sponsored by commercial radio industry group Radiocentre, the study surveyed 1,200 U.K. commercial radio listeners, including those who also listen to BBC radio (46 percent frequently and 54 percent infrequently).

“We know that radio is popular in the U.K., with about 90 percent of all residents tuning to radio every week, but we hadn’t realized how undervalued radio news is,” said Matt Payton, Radiocentre’s director of external affairs.

“Eighty-eight percent of the people we surveyed are interested or very interested in keeping up-to-date with the latest news. Seventy-seven percent of them said radio is the source they trust most to get this news; ahead of TV, newspapers, and social media.”

BY THE NUMBERS

According to the 1,200 U.K. commercial radio listeners, 83 percent tune into radio news bulletins in the morning, and 85 percent percent listen to radio news while during in the car. As well, 60 percent of these people tune to radio news during local emergencies.

In contrast, the numbers for other media during local emergencies are 40 percent for TV; 30 percent for social media, 20 percent for newspaper websites/apps, and 8 percent for print newspapers.

On questions of trust, 79 percent of the listeners surveyed agreed that commercial radio “gives helpful, concise updates on the news throughout the day.” Seventy-seven percent agreed that commercial radio news “helps me stay informed of what’s happening in the world around me,” and 57 percent agreed that radio news “prompts me to find out more about news stories.”

FIGHTING FAKE NEWS

Thanks to propagandistic “fake news” reports turning up on the web and social media, “Sixty-one percent of the people we surveyed are now concerned or very concerned about fake news,” said Payton.

It was in this context that 77 percent of those surveyed cited radio as a “most trusted medium” for accurate information. TV was second with 74 percent also assigning it “most trusted medium” status. Print newspapers ranked third in this category at 48 percent; newspaper websites and apps fourth at 45 percent, and social media last at just 15 percent.

The bottom line, according to the report: In the U.K., radio is the most trusted source of reliable, accurate news — particularly in the internet age.