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Radio Hosts Deemed Most Influential, Trustworthy, Survey Says

Study finds that radio and podcast personalities engender trust and companionship

A new report reveals that consumers perceive radio and podcast personalities as trustworthy, authentic and highly relatable.

Those finds were part of a study sponsored by iHeartMedia and PMX called “Exploring the Brand Benefits of Trust and Companionship in Audio.” Conducted by the consulting firm Magid, the study delves into the role that different audio channels play in the lives of the audience when it comes to trust and companionship.

According to the study, 55% of participants said they listen to commercials more often on radio and in podcasts than on any other medium. A slightly smaller percentage — 53% — found radio and podcast advertisements to be more relevant than on any other medium. And 51% of respondents think radio and podcast advertisers are more trustworthy than those on any other medium. 

The study also compared radio and streaming music services and found that, in nine consumer categories that include restaurants, retail and automobiles, consumers who purchased a product were more likely to buy from an audio advertisement in every single category. 

“With the resiliency of radio and recent explosion of the podcasting space, audio influencers have emerged as a new avenue for advertisers to continue to connect with audiences in authentic ways,” said Chris Yarusso, national audio practice lead for PMX, the investment arm of Publicis Media, the marketing and communications company. “Our research confirms that radio and podcast hosts are perceived as some of the most trustworthy, essential and relatable personalities in the media ecosystem.”

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Yarusso also said that the diversity and variety of radio and podcast content in the marketplace gives advertisers a strategic edge to connect with engaged consumers.

The study found that radio hosts are seen as some of the most relatable and trusted influencers around when compared to other vertical such as TV and social. They are also considered to be highly entertaining. The study found that listeners are 129% more likely than listeners of other audio platforms to say they listen to be entertained. 

Podcast listeners are also loyal consumers. The research included a study in which audio listeners were asked to give up radio and podcasts for three days. The participants who did so reported feeling “lonely,” “disconnected” and “more overwhelmed doing simple tasks.” 

According to one radio listener, it “felt like I was being excluded from a conversation.” 

“Radio personalities are the original influencers,” said Mike Bloxham, executive vice president of Global Media and Entertainment for Magid. “We found they’ve retained that status over time and are now joined by podcast hosts as major influencers in media today.” 

Susan Ashworth is the former editor of TV Technology and a long-time contributor to Radio World. She has served as editor-in-chief of two housing finance magazines and written about topics as varied as broadcasting, education, chess, music, sports and the connected home environment.