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AM/FM Holds Fast in a Volatile Media Landscape

Latest Jacobs Media Techsurvey has good news for radio

Techsurvey 2020 from Jacobs Media is out, and as usual some trends are as expected, but there are always surprises. Overall, the future looks bright for AM/FM radio.

The media pyramid shows AM/FM with 90%, surpassed only by smartphones with 92% and TV/video with 95%. The bad news is radio has dropped by 1% for the past two years. The pyramid also shows radio’s popularity almost evenly divided between men and women.

What’s the main reason for listening to AM/FM radio? At the top of the list with 69% is easiest to listen to in the car. The next most popular reasons — it’s free, DJs/hosts/shows, hear favorite songs/artists and feeling a connection with radio.

“One of radio’s primary advantages is its local feel.” Forty-five percent of Techsurvey’s respondents strongly agree with this statement, while 42% agree. Even more interesting, the percent that strongly agree and agree has risen from 77% of respondents in TS 2016 to 88% in TS 2020.

“I really feel a sense of connection to the station that sent me this survey.” Seven in 10 of those surveyed strongly agree or agree with this statement, again suggesting how important localism is. There is a slight gender difference, with 69% of men and 74% of women agreeing.

There is some very revealing information for commercial radio in the Net Promoter Scores (NPS). This number is derived by asking respondents on a scale of 1 to 10, how likely they would be to recommend the station that sent them the survey. Christian and public radio lead the NPS scores with 77% and 71% respectively, even though they are not commercial radio, and not part of this Jacobs survey. Rock is the top commercial NPS radio format, trailing with 55%. Whatever Christian and public radio are doing, commercial radio might be well advised to do more of it as well.

Finally, the survey asked about station bumper stickers. They generally fell out of favor during the 1980s, but maybe it’s time to bring them back. More than one in four say they would put their home station’s bumper sticker on their car if it were available. Of that group, most listened to rhythmic urban, 49% and rock, 47%. Clearly, some stations haven’t given up on bumper stickers, because 3% of respondents said yes, they already have one.