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Radio Ranks As Most Trustworthy Source in New iHeartMedia Poll

The survey also revealed radio delivers tangible benefits to listeners, from improving mood to remaining connected to the community

A survey conducted for iHeartMedia found that radio continues to rank very highly as a trustworthy medium.

In fact it found radio to be number one in terms of trust and also two times more trustworthy than social media.

[Read: New Audio Campaign Aims to Reinforce Radio’s Role as Trusted Partner]

As a major owner of radio stations, iHeart clearly has a horse in this game. But the findings of its survey are likely to be used not only by the company itself but around the industry. U.S. commercial broadcasters are continuing to navigate an economy hampered by a pandemic against a background of frequent debate about the trustworthiness of all forms of media.

According to the summary from the company, listeners found radio to be 79% more or just as trustworthy versus a year ago. Comparatively, social media was seen to be 50% less trustworthy than during the same time period.

Similar sentiments were in store for other social media sites. In particular, the survey found that sentiment for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter has fallen in recent months, with Facebook down 56%, Instagram down 38% and Twitter down 140%.

The survey found that:

  • 75% of those surveyed trust radio
  • 66% of those surveyed trust television
  • 57% of those surveyed trust websites
  • 38% of those surveyed trust Twitter
  • 37% of those surveyed trust Facebook

IHeart also said that listeners believe radio delivers tangible benefits to them, with an overwhelming majority of respondents citing that it improves their mood, helps them feel less isolated and allows them to feel more connected to their community.

It described listener connection with radio personalities as strong, with 77% saying that they trusting the information they receive from their favorite on-air hosts.

When it comes to advertising, the survey indicated that heavy radio listeners wield significant word-of-mouth power for advertisers; those listeners had more brand conversations and more influence, the survey found, than heavy internet users or TV viewers.

According to Gayle Troberman, chief marketing officer for iHeartMedia, the pandemic has made it more important than ever for Americans to get information they trust and to find ways to connect with people. “These findings show that radio continues to deliver a much-needed and sought-out trusted companionship during this historic and uncertain time,” she said.

The survey was conducted by Engagement Labs during the timeframe of July 27–29. The findings released by iHeartMedia also include data from Engagement Labs TotalSocial survey, which was fielded between July 2019 and July 2020.