Americans still gaga over radio: survey

MUMBAI: Americans rate the importance and relevance of local commercial radio very highly, despite the entry of high-technology competition, a national survey commissioned by American Media Services showed.

The survey found that 78 per cent said radio is important in their everyday lives, and 91 per cent said radio is important in American life in general. Nearly three-quarters (74 per cent) said they listen to radio at least once a day.

The telephone survey of 1,004 American adults was conducted from 13 - 15 April, 2006 by Omnitel, the weekly omnibus survey by the national polling firm of GfK NOP of Princeton. The survey is considered accurate within plus or minus three percentage points.

The new findings complement those in AMS' initial survey in January: 64 per cent said they were listening to radio as much as, or more than, they were five years ago.

"The evidence from our polls and others is conclusive that people are continuing to listen to their local, free radio stations. Arbitron and Edison Media Research just conducted a national survey of 1,925 respondents that revealed 77 per cent of Americans expect to continue to listen to their radio in the future as much as they are today," said American Media Services president and CEO Ed Seeger.

In the AMS survey, 57 per cent of men and 49 per cent of women said they listen to radio at least daily. The availability of music, news and reports on weather and traffic continues to be the most often cited reasons for listening to the radio, with 98 per cent of respondents saying they listen to radio for one of those features. "Radio doesn't need to reinvent itself. It just needs to get its story out in the marketplace. It continues to thrive with the same basic programming we have embraced for the past half-century," said Seeger.

Other findings of the survey include:

78 per cent usually tune to a local radio station when they get in their car.
More people had a favorite local radio personality in their local markets (37 per cent) than a favorite television personality per cent (32 per cent), newspaper personality (seven per cent) or personality on a local internet site (one per cent).
When asked what about the different qualities that make a good radio personality, they ranked four as most important: 89 per cent said they liked to listen to someone who makes them think, 82 per cent said one who makes them laugh, 79 per cent wanted a personality they could trust, and 76 per cent said a good radio personality has strong ties to the local community.
Overall, 41 per cent of respondents said they liked to listen to stations that have a good balance of music, news, weather and traffic information. That rated above playing their kind of music (26 per cent) or making them laugh (3 per cent).
Of those respondents who had a "favorite media personality," 37 per cent said their favorite personality worked on the radio, while 32 per cent said their favorite worked on television.
61 per cent of those likely to change stations during commercial breaks do so in a minute or less.

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