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Jacobs Media’s All-Format Techsurvey8 Released

The largest radio tech survey ever conducted

170 stations | 12 radio formats | 57,358 radio listeners

In Jacobs Media’s new study of core radio listeners, the high-tech revolution continues – but broadcast radio’s pathway to success may turn out to be more high-touch.  Even as smartphones, tablets, and social media continue their march toward ubiquity, the elements that often matter to audiences transcend gadgets and platforms.

Techsurvey8 explores the format landscape for media usage and digital applications in a way that radio has not been privy to in the past.  The media habits of twelve different format core audiences are examined in the largest technology survey ever conducted for radio.

According to Jacobs Media President Fred Jacobs, “The data from Techsurvey8 strongly suggest that focusing on connecting emotionally and meaningfully with listeners is radio’s best avenue toward remaining relevant and vibrant in the face of new digital competition.”

While the study covers the entire spectrum of media, digital, and social activities, several key findings emerge from Techsurvey8 (see our infographic below for more details):

Why AM/FM Radio still matters: While “favorite songs” and local personalities are the highest ranking elements, there are four emotional triggers that listeners value:

  1. Having a radio on while they work
  2. Helping them get in a better mood
  3. Providing a feeling of companionship
  4. Offering an escape from the pressures of everyday life

Pandora is a (pure) player:  Far and away, Pandora is the most popular pure-play Internet option, as nearly half (45%) of “streamies” listen to some extent, easily besting competitors like iHeartRadio (19%), Spotify (7%), TuneIn Radio (7%), and Slacker Radio (5%). Pandora’s mobile app is the most popular among radio-centric applications, followed distantly by iHeartRadio’s app and the individual apps that stations commission.

However, Pandora users are split as to whether the Internet pure play should be considered “radio” – 43% “yes” – 49% “no.”  Fans of Alternative, Contemporary Christian, Country, CHR, and Variety Hits are more apt to think of Pandora as “radio.”

Protecting The In-Car Listening Franchise:  The car is becoming a major battleground for radio.  More than half of all respondents say that most of their radio listening takes place in cars.  And nearly half (48%) say they’re able to connect a smartphone or mp3 player in their main vehicle.   One in ten (9%) now drives a car equipped with an entertainment/information system like Ford’s Sync, especially fans of News/Talk and Sports/Talk.

It’s all about “First Occasions”:  Nearly six in ten of these core radio listeners (57%) start their day with another medium or gadget – rather than turn on a radio at home or in the car.  Television is a close second to turning on a radio at home. The 18-34s are more likely to engage with email or Facebook for this all-important “First Occasion” of the day.

Smartphones, Apps and Tablets coming on strong:  More than half (52%) now own a smartphone, and more than nine in ten download apps (93%).  Partisans of Alternative, CHR, Rock, and Sports/Talk stations have a greater propensity to own a smartphone.

Tablets are becoming a significant part of the digital story. One-fourth say they own one (24%), and iPad has a big lead over all other competitors.  To underscore how tablets appeal to many different types of consumers, devotees of Hot AC and News/Talk radio stations are most likely to own a tablet.

The Social Media tidal wave:  Eight of ten of these core radio listeners are on Facebook.  CHR, Alternative, and Country fans are most apt to be daily Facebook users.

More than one-fifth use Twitter, and Sports/Talk emerges as the format where Twitter rules.  By far, sports-centric listeners are most likely to follow a sports station or personality on Twitter.

Jacobs Media will host a series of format-centric webinars over the next several weeks to take a more granular look at the relationships between radio’s core formats and the audiences that enjoy them.

 Techsurvey 8 Infographic

Techsurvey8 results were gathered online from January 31-February 15, 2012.  Overall, 170 broadcast stations across the U.S. and Canada took part, contributing 57,358 total respondents. 

Jacobs Media is a Detroit-based media research and consulting firm, specializing in radio, television, and new media.  The company also develops applications for smartphones.  To date, jacAPPS has created more than 600 apps that have generated more than 14 million downloads.

For more information, please contact:

Fred Jacobs  fredjacobs@jacobsmedia.com
Paul Jacobs  pauljacobs@jacobsmedia.com