Country music is the second most-listened to radio station format, according to a newly-released “Radio Format Profiles: An Infinite Dial Study,” presented by Laura Ivey, Director of Research at Edison Research. In the study, country stations earned the second-highest percentage of listenership from study participants, at 12 percent, tying with Classic Rock (also 12%) and just behind Hip-Hop/Rap, at 12%.
The study included more than 3,000 interviews, conducted in January and February 2020, prior to COVID-19 disruptions. These online interviews supplemented the Infinite Dial telephone-based survey.
The ethnicities of those taking part in the survey were 66% white, 13% African-American, 16% Hispanic-Latino, while 5% selected “other.” The country radio format had the highest percentage of white listeners in the study, at 87% (11% of Hispanic/Latino panelists listened to country, while 1% of African-American participants reported listening to the country radio format). The R&B radio format had the highest percentage of African-American listeners in the survey (55%), followed by Hip-Hop/Rap (25%) and contemporary Christian (19%).
The formats where P1 listeners were most likely to own an in-home radio include Classic Hits, Classic Rock, Country, Hard Rock/Heavy Metal, News/Talk, and Sports. Formats less likely to own an in-home radio include Alternative Rock, Contemporary Christian.
Among P1 listeners who were least likely to own a smart speaker are Country listeners, as well as listeners of Classic Hits, Classic Rock, Contemporary Christian, and News/Talk, while younger P1 listeners of Alternative Rock, Hard Rock/Heavy Metal, Hip Hop/Rap, R&B, Sports, and Top 40, are more likely to own one.
Study participants who listened mostly to Country radio reported using the social media platform Facebook the most (62%) followed by Instagram (10%) and Snapchat (8%). Country listeners reported that the audio brand they used most often was Pandora (30%), followed by Spotify (25%), with Apple Music trailing at 16%.
R&B listeners used YouTube for music most frequently with 57% reporting they had used YouTube for music or music videos in the last week, followed by Hip Hop/Rap listeners (55%), Hard Rock/Heavy Metal (50%), Top 40 (49%), Classic Rock (43%), Alternative Rock (42%), Contemporary Christian (39%), Country (38%) and Classic Hits (25%).
The survey also asked listeners to rate the importance of learning about and staying up to date with music. 41% of Country listeners said it was “somewhat important,” while 40% rated it as “not at all important.” Only 19% of Country radio listeners reported learning about and staying up to date with new music as “very important.” Contemporary Christian listeners mostly rated it as “somewhat important” (49%), while 41% rated it as “not at all important,” while only 10% considered it important to stay up to date with music. Meanwhile, the majority of Hip-Hop/Rap listeners (46%) rated it as “somewhat important,” while 37% rated it as “very important.”
The top platforms Country listeners, R&B listeners, and Contemporary Christian listeners used to keep up to date with music were AM/FM radio, YouTube and friends/family members. Hip-Hop/Rap listeners primarily used Spotify, YouTube and friends/family to learn about new music.
“Migrating loyal radio listeners from traditional radio hardware to smart speakers and mobile devices is essential to the future of radio,” said Ivey. “Consumers of audio should be thinking of radio when they make their listening choices.”
“Understanding the device ownership, discovery habits, social media preferences, and podcast tastes of P1 listeners is incredibly valuable insight for AM/FM radio stations as they continuously refine their online strategies,” said John Rosso, President of Market Development at Triton Digital. “Understanding how to reach their P1’s online will undoubtedly help broadcasters further engage with their most loyal listeners.”
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