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TechSurvey 2022: Influence of Digital Audio Grows

Gen Z is beginning to challenge traditional listening and digital

Last week’s release of TechSurvey 2022 shows the rise in popularity of digital audio and its role in the listening habits of the survey’s respondents, especially among younger radio listeners. 

Survey data shows the percent of time core radio listeners spent with their P1 station through a traditional manner with a radio — either in the car, at home, work or school — is 61%, while digital accounts for 35% of listening. 

That data has mirrored itself the past two surveys, according to Jacobs Media, but the gap has narrowed over the past decade. In 2013 it was 85% traditional listening and 14% digital via an Internet stream or mobile app.

“You can see the trajectories very clearly and where we are headed. Every year it seems digital becomes just a little more important while traditional listening is dropping, said Fred Jacobs, president of Jacobs Media. 

Age difference also impacts how TechSurvey participants are listening to the radio. Last week’s online presentation shows Baby Boomers listen to radio by traditional means at 66% and digital 31%. Meanwhile, Millenials are listening on a regular radio at home, work, school or in the car at 53% and digital plots the graph at 42%.

“So Millenials are way lest likely to have a traditional radio in those traditional areas,” Jacobs said. “It’s when you start looking at generations that you can really see the listening difference. Gen Z is beginning to challenge traditional listening and digital. A 49% to 42% split between traditional and digital.”

Jacobs says broadcasters forging a digital strategy and meeting listeners where they want to listen is crucial.   

Techsurvey 2022 includes a media usage pyramid that reflects compilation data collected in early 2022 from survey respondents. AM/FM radio usage was down a couple of percent from 2021 levels. Audio streaming was down a bit but Smart Speaker and Smartphone usage was flat while use of hearables, things like Airpods and Bluetooth headphones, jumped up to 50% of respondents saying they use them.

Of interest to broadcasters who are following dashboard developments in connected cars is data showing that 30% of survey respondents drive a connected car, as compared to 27% a year ago. “That means three out of ten respondents now drives a connected car with a system like Ford Sync,” Jacobs said. 

This is another in a series of stories examining the results from TechSurvey 2022. The 18th annual web survey tracks audio listening habits and how core radio listeners interact with the mediascape away from the radio. The population spread of this year’s TechSurvey crew is 48% men and 52% female with the largest age group being 55-64, which represents 36% of respondents. 

The annual project, which measures the amount of change in the tech space and its impact on radio broadcasters, engaged radio listeners throughout the United States from more than 470 participating stations with some 31,000 respondents. Interviews took place in January and February of this year, according to Jacobs Media. 

This is the fourth in a series of stories examining the results from TechSurvey 2022. Click here to read part three.