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Nielsen Survey Highlights Consumer Trust in Radio

“More than eight in 10 Americans report spending the same or more time with radio as a result of COVID-19”

Kathrin Ziegler

Research firm Nielsen released the findings of a study about American attitudes surrounding the COVID-19 crisis and radio listening.

“The study showed that consumers hold radio in high regard with 60% of adults 18+ saying that they trust radio to give timely information about the coronavirus,” the company said. “Eighty three percent of American adults also report spending the same or more time with radio as a result of the COVID outbreak.”

The survey was done online over three days last week among a weighted sample of 1,000 adults 18+ in the U.S.

Nielsen Audio is a supplier of research products for the U.S. radio industry; its ratings have been a major component of the relationship between stations and advertisers since it acquired Arbitron in 2013. It frequently highlights the power of radio, for example pointing out that when evaluated through the same Nielsen lens as other media and using directly comparable metrics, “radio reaches more people of every generation than nearly any other content.”

Managing Director Brad Kelly in Wednesday’s survey announcement stated that at a time of heightened uncertainty and disrupted routines, “consumers are turning to radio as a trusted source of information and community connection, mirroring patterns observed during past regional and national disasters and weather events.”

Among further findings, the survey found that 92% of American adults are concerned moderately or extremely about COVID-19. More than half said radio is a good source of information about the coronavirus and associated restrictions, trust that what they hear on radio is accurate, and trust information they get from favorite radio hosts. About 42% of consumers reported that radio has helped them deal with the outbreak; a slightly higher percentage indicated that radio helps them know what stores are open and where to shop.