Radio is one of the media channels which, alongside digital, has seen a lot of opportunities for growth and to attract new listeners during the Coronavirus lockdown. In this article Joanne Lambert, one of our Group Account Directors, shares her key take-outs from Mediatel’s Future of Audio webinar.

New Listening Patterns

With so many consumers staying at home, the Bauer Insider Panel has reported 91% of people in the UK listening during the lockdown, with 26% of people listening to more radio during this time. Of course, the listening location has changed – there has been a 58% decrease in in-car listening, and consequently drive times have become less important. In contrast, 38% are now listening to the radio from a connected device, such as a computer, smartphone or smart speaker. The panel also reported 57% of people listening to a podcast, and increased podcast listening was reported by 11% of the panel.

Changing on-air Content

The panel have reported that radio is really building on the connection between broadcaster and listener, which is reinforced by DJs setting up studios in their own homes and allowing us into their home lives. As a result, we hear much more about their home lives and families.

Many stations are also changing their content, with several stations hosting live music festivals broadcast directly from the homes of the artists. Local stations are helping build community spirit, with some stations highlighting local heroes and positive stories. All are integrating government messaging into their reporting, particularly around their travel slots.

Radio has become an important way for listeners to connect to the outside world and has played an important part in lifting spirits, particularly amongst people isolating alone.

Radio post-Coronavirus

Due to local revenue being challenged, with many of their regular advertisers closed, local stations are having to diversify their advertiser lists, pitching to delivery services and cleaning companies in addition to the retail and local brands that have historically been their mainstay.

With consumers taking advantage of the new ways of listening to radio digitally during the crisis, stations expect to see positive effects on listening figures after the crisis.

For brands considering using radio, messaging is key, and stations are happy to advise on this. It is also important to consider the changing listening environment, with fewer people listening in the car, and even more people being online than usual while listening.

Although it is impossible to say with certainty how media consumption will change as we emerge back to some form of normality, it’s tempting to speculate that some habits acquired in the shutdown will be carried forwards into “normal” life and that, for many, new-found affinities for radio and podcasts will be retained.

If you are interested in exploring how radio could be an effective marketing platform for your business get in touch with a member of our team.

Joanne Lambert, Group Account Director