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Is the Smart Speaker Like a New Age Home Radio?

New report from The Infinite Dial offers insights into evolution of radio technology listening devices

What do sports radio listeners have in common with top 40 listeners? Not much, really. That’s according to the latest report from Edison Research The Infinite Dial series. It profiles listeners of 11 U.S. radio formats. The report goes on to give some granularity to these different listening audio behaviors.

Titled “Radio Listener Profiles,” this report focuses on weekly AM/FM radio listeners who reported listening most often to a radio station with one of the following formats: alternative rock, classic hits, classic rock, contemporary Christian, country, hard rock/heavy metal, hip-hop/rap, news/talk, R&B, sports and top 40.

[Read: Radio Listening Audiences Rebound Despite Pandemic Impact]

The thesis of Edison Research and Triton Digital’s report is that while formats are usually classified by the age and sex of their listeners, not all audio and audio device behaviors can be inferred along those lines. The report refers to the survey participants as P1 listeners.

The Infinite Dial, Edison Research

Ownership of an in-home AM/FM radio continues to be a challenge for the industry, according to the report. Formats whose listeners are most likely to have a radio at home include classic hits, classic rock, country, hard rock/heavy metal, news/talk and sports. Those listeners likely lacking this appliance regularly tune in to alternative rock, contemporary Christian, hip-hop/rap and top 40. Positioned exactly between these two in terms of radio ownership are R&B listeners, representing the overall average.

The Infinite Dial, Edison Research

According to the report, this loss of traditional home radio receivers is partially offset by the influx of smart speakers. Again, the report claims, the utilization of these new devices is not consistent across the board. Not surprisingly, it suggests that smart speaker adoption tracks pretty consistently with the formats which attract younger listeners. Those most likely to own a smart speaker tune in to alternative rock, hard rock/heavy metal, hip-hop/rap, R&B, sports and top 40. On the other hand, the report says, those holding on to their AM/FM radio prefer country, classic hits, classic rock, contemporary Christian and news/talk.