Latest RMB study says radio is holding its own

The Radio Marketing Bureau says adult Canadian radio listening habits haven't changed since 2006, but is optimistic that the medium isn't losing ground to other media, such as mobile devices.

Two hours and 12 minutes: that’s the average amount of time adult Canadians spend listening to the radio on a daily basis, according to the most recent study commissioned by the Radio Marketing Bureau (RMB).

The good news is that those listening habits haven’t changed since 2006, RMB VP Peter Heron, tells MiC, as adults 18+ reported that their radio time in 2009 either increased or remained consistent with their 2008 listening habits, with time spent at work and in their cars attributing to the addition.

Other study highlights include: 38% of adults report that they listen to the radio some or most of the time they’re on the internet; 39% have visited a radio station website; and approximately 33% of adults have listened to radio online, with 58% of online listeners streaming local radio stations.

‘The average amount of time tuned daily hasn’t changed, which is something when you think about it, because we were wondering about new media devices like the penetration of MP3 players, which went from 35% to 53%,’ he notes. ‘What we’ve found is that although more people own devices like MP3 players, it’s not affecting their time with radio significantly at all.’

The results come hot on the heels of this week’s Deloitte TMT predictions that focused on the continued erosion of traditional media strongholds print and television.

The RMB study, a phone survey conducted late in 2009 by the Foundation Research Group, finds that Canadians in general are now tuning into radio during the workday more than ever. The study found that listening levels had increased 40%, and were now on par with evening drive-time levels.

Heron also says that radio stations are proving their durability by establishing their brands on the internet.

‘When we talk about the versatility of the medium, you can listen anytime, anywhere, online or on-air, and the audience is finding ways of interacting with it that aren’t available on air, such as video content and artist interviews that are exclusive to the station,’ says Heron.

Heron says the study also revealed that the perception of radio stations losing listeners as the day progresses is misguided.

‘With the PPMs that just launched recently, we’ve seen that radio’s reach starts to rise quite significantly with morning drive time, and that the reach is sort of maintained. It starts to hit in the 70% to 80% range in the morning, and it continues throughout the day.’