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‘Infinite Dial UK’ Details U.K. Radio Listening, Ownership

Radio listening in the U.K. outpaces listening in other nations

Radio World is taking an in-depth look at “The Infinite Dial UK 2021” report this week.

In Part Two of Radio World’s summation of Edison Research’s “The Infinite Dial UK 2021” report we look at Edison Research President Larry Rosen’s findings on radio listening in the United Kingdom (and other countries), plus rates of radio/smart speaker ownership here and in the United States.

The report is based on 1,000 telephone interviews with U.K. residents 16 and older, during the fourth quarter of 2021.

U.K. radio listening

Based upon the complete mix of British AM/MW, FM, and DAB stations, 83 percent of the 16+ population surveyed by Edison Research listened to radio in the last week. By age group, this breaks down 80 percent for people 16–34; 84 percent for 35–54; and 80 percent for 55 and older.

Past Week Radio Listening in the U.K. (Courtesy Edison Research)

[Read more of our coverage of ‘Infinite Dial’ report]

“Some of you might be used to seeing slightly higher numbers from RAJAR for weekly listening,” said Rosen. “Let me remind you that this is a telephone survey where we’re just asking a single question about listening into the radio in any way in the last week, whereas RAJAR takes steps to jog people’s memories and remind them of all the cases where they might’ve listened to the radio.”

Compared to Canada’s 70 percent (18+), Australia’s 79 percent (18+) and the U.S.’s 59 percent (16+), the U.K. is doing pretty well in terms of radio listening.

“People are listening to the radio in the U.K., and they are remembering that they have listened to the radio in the U.K. in greater numbers than in these three other English-speaking countries around the world,” Rosen said.

Radio and smart speaker ownership

When asked, ‘Do you own a radio? Do you have a radio in your household?’, Edison Research found that 78 percent of U.K. respondents said yes while 22 percent said no.

Moreover, “Fourteen percent of people in the U.K. — consistent across age groups — said they have four or more radios in their household,” said Rosen. “So, you see, radio remains very central to the lived experience of people in the U.K.” He contrasted these numbers to the U.S., where 68 percent own radios (10 percent have four or more), and 32 percent do not.

Radio Receiver Ownership, U.K. and U.S. Compared (Courtesy Edison Research)

The differences continued when Larry Rosen looked at U.K./U.S. radio ownership and smart speaker ownership.

“Fifty-eight percent of everyone in the U.K. says they have a radio in their home, but don’t have a smart speaker,” he said. “20 percent say they have both the radio and the smart speaker in their home; 6 percent say they have a smart speaker but not a radio in their home. So, 6 percent of people seemingly have replaced radio in their homes with the smart speaker, and only 16 percent of people in their homes have neither a radio nor a smart speaker.”

Radio and Smart Speaker Ownership, U.K. and U.S. Compared (Courtesy Edison Research)

Meanwhile, 50 percent of Americans surveyed reported owning a radio but not a smart speaker; 19 percent said they owned both; 8 percent said they had a smart speaker but not a radio; and 23 percent had neither.

This last number caught Larry Rosen’s attention: “Here in the United States, we have more people saying that they neither have a radio nor a smart speaker.”

In Part Three of Radio World’s summary of “The Infinite Dial UK 2021,” we’ll look at the U.K.’s consumption of online audio.

Part 1: “First-Ever ‘Infinite Dial UK’ Survey Provides Insights for U.K. Radio
Part 2: “‘Infinite Dial UK’ Details U.K. Radio Listening, Ownership
Part 3: “‘Infinite Dial UK’ Digs into U.K. Online Audio
Part 4: “‘Infinite Dial UK’ Looks at In-Car Media
Part 5: “U.K. Likes Podcasts Finds ‘Infinite Dial UK’