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Radio’s Place through the Pandemic

date 1st April 2020
user Post by hatch

Kiwis and in fact the world are turning to radio to help them cope through the pandemic. In the USA, which is now the epicentre of COVID-19, bespoke research was undertaken by Nielsen to measure how radio listening has changed.

As the data shows, 8 in 10 people listen to the same if not more radio – it’s just the means of listening that has changed.


A common concern we are hearing at this time is that because radio is such a key media channel for commute and in car listening, the assumption is engagement will have stopped. However, now more than ever audiences are tuning in to be informed and entertained. Maintaining the habit of listening to our favourite hosts gives us a sense of normalcy.

We talk a lot about what we consider to be the six principles of radio, and as the Nielsen chart shows, none is more prevalent now than radio’s ability to be a companion. We’re lucky to have more radio stations per capita than any country in the world, meaning there is no shortage of personalities to keep up with or make us feel less alone as the case may be.

Commercial Radio Australia has reported a 20% increase in users and a 22% increase in time spent listening on smartphones via RadioApp over the past week to March 30th.


Closer to home, our network partners are seeing proof of this in their digital listening figures. As of March 31st, NZME’s radio audience increased 51% week on week on iHeartRadio. MediaWorks are seeing similar movements, with upwards of 8,000 additional overall app users each week.


Though the upcoming radio survey results weren’t measured during the outbreak, it’s likely AM/FM listening will have increased significantly as well. For the time being we can utilise digital insights as an indication of how habits may have changed as a result of the pandemic. We’ll keep agencies up to date as new data becomes available.


More and more people are turning to radio to help them understand and cope through the pandemic. We celebrate all of those keeping the essential service running – from home or otherwise – at this time.



Read the full Nielsen report - Radio Is ‘Comfort Food’ As Media Consumption Rises Amid Covid-19 Pandemic.