Audience measurement startup, StatsRadio, has analyzed pandemic listening across its 62 client stations in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick, finding among other things, that morning show listening has been extended as audiences tune in against multiple time frames.
Of the 62 stations StatsRadio looked at, 8.9% are in large markets (close to, or over 1 million), 91.1% are in regional markets, 31 are community radio stations, and 31 are privately owned.
The company pulled data from February 2020 (pre-pandemic), April 2020 (first lockdown), July 2020 (reopening) and October 2020 (second wave), looking at the listening period from 4 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., Monday to Friday, in 15 minute increments, to observe the start of the listening curve as exemplified by an increase in reach (number of individuals listening during each time increment).
StatsRadio found that pre-lockdown, morning listenership was well underway by 4 a.m. (88.71% of sample). That trend continued to increase for each month studied to finish at 98.39% in October. Morning audience decline continued until noon for 14.52% of the sample stations, increasing to 22.58% of the sample in October.
While 61.29% of stations saw shifts in morning show primetime listening from February to April, just 35.48% saw that shift continue into fall. The majority saw an incremental shift between 15 to 30 minutes with 52% seeing an increase in morning show tuning from February until October.
Overall tuning increased for 52% of the sample stations in the same period and decreased for 21%. It returned to pre-lockdown numbers for 26% and remained the same for 1%.
“It is interesting to see how radio remains an integral part of daily life in Canadian rural areas and smaller communities even during a pandemic. Despite slight variances during the spring and summer months, 79% of our stations have kept or even increased their tuning,” Louis-Philippe Sutton, CEO, StatsRadio, told Broadcast Dialogue.
“There are two trends we see when advertisers purchase radio: those who attempt to reach the widest or most diverse audience by advertising throughout the day and those who seek the biggest impact by advertising during prime time,” added Sutton. “As a result of this review, if I were still running my agency during this pandemic, radio would still play an important role in any of my media plans and I would recommend clients advertise throughout the day.”
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