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Jacobs: Radio’s ‘Emotional, Meaningful’ Connection Is Key

Techsurvey8 findings suggest AM/FM still matter, in-car listening under pressure

The results from Jacobs Media’s latest tech survey among radio listeners are in and according to company President Fred Jacobs, the findings suggest that “focusing on connecting emotionally and meaningfully with listeners is radio’s best avenue toward remaining relevant and vibrant in the face of new digital competition.”

The survey of 57,000+ listeners covered media, digital and social activities.

Respondents told Jacobs Media researchers that AM/FM radio still matters because the medium helps them get into a better mood, they enjoy having a radio on at work, radio provides companionship and it offers them an escape from the pressures of life.

In-car listening is under pressure, researchers found. More than half of all respondents say that most of their radio listening takes place in cars. And nearly half (48%) say they’re able to connect a smartphone or MP3 player in their main vehicle. One in ten (9%) now drives a car equipped with an entertainment/information system like Ford’s Sync, especially fans of news/talk and sports/talk formats. Some 6% have HD Radio.

Among those who listen to Internet radio, Pandora is the most popular pure-play option, with nearly half — at 45% — of those who listen to Internet streaming tuning into that. Clear Chanel’s iHeartRadio came in at 19% while Spotify and TuneIn both came in at 7% with Slacker at 5%.

Pandora’s mobile app is the most popular among radiocentric applications, followed distantly by iHeartRadio’s app and the individual apps that stations commission, according to the findings.

Occasions matter. Nearly 6 in 10 of these core listeners (57%) told Jacobs Media they begin their day with another medium or gadget — instead of turning on the radio in the house or car. TV is a close second to turning on the radio at home and 18–34-year-olds are most likely to engage with social media or email as they start their day. The latter makes sense, because 8 of 10 core listeners are on Facebook, Jacobs Media finds.