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Fewer ads increase radio listening in the US

MUMBAI: This is a piece of news that should interest American radio stations. 47 per cent of American consumers say that they would listen to a radio station "a lot more" if that station had

noticeably fewer commercial breaks.

44 per cent say that they would listen a lot more if that station had shorter commercial breaks.

These findings are contained in a study of the American consumer's attitudes toward radio commercials conducted by Arbitron and Edison Media Research. The study also reveals that more than eight in 10 Americans say that listening to commercials is a "fair price to pay" for free radio programming. In addition, a majority of listeners say they "never" tune away from radio

commercials while they are listening to the radio at work (63 per cent) or at home (49 per cent).

Even while listening to the radio in a car, where switching stations is usually easier, only one-third of listeners say they "always" or "usually" change stations during a commercial break. Relatively

few radio listeners say that they typically switch the station immediately upon hearing the beginning of a commercial break.

Arbitron senior VP Marketing Bill Rose says, "The overwhelming majority of radio listeners continue to value the time-honoured trade of free radio programming in return for listening to commercial messages. This study reveals that consumers are beginning to notice stations with few spot breaks."

23 per cent of the respondents were aware of radio stations that played noticeably fewer commercial breaks than they used to and noticeably shorter commercial breaks than those stations used to (23 per cent). While 34 per cent of radio listeners think radio has more commercials than one year ago, that number is down from 41 per cent in a similar study conducted by Arbitron and Edison in 1999.

Fewer listeners today say that they are spending less time with radio because of an increase in commercials. Overall, only 12 per cent indicate they are listening less to radio today due to a perceived increase in the number of commercials. This compares to 19 per cent in 1999.

According to the study, younger listeners (ages 12-24) are bothered more by the quantity of commercials as opposed to how "annoying" they perceive those commercials to be by a 58 to 33 percent margin. People age 25-54 also are more bothered by the quantity (53 per cent) than the quality of commercials (37 per cent). Older listeners (age 55 and older) are slightly more bothered by annoying commercials (44 to 35 per cent) than they are by the number of commercials.

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