Radio holding its own in age of digital disruption, says latest Radio On the Move study

Some Canadians have responded to Meta’s ban on Canadian news links by seeking out more traditional media sources, according to Radio Connects’ Radio on the Move fall 2023 update.

Now in its 14th year, the online study looks at emerging trends in the Canadian audio landscape, including the evolving role of live radio. Conducted in October of last year, 3,000 Canadian adults were part of a panel recruited through Maru Voice Canada.

Looking at ad-supported audio consumed by Canadian adults, Radio on the Move says three out of every four hours is currently going to live AM/FM, three times the total number of hours going to ad-supported podcasts and streaming services combined. In-car, radio is accounting for 59% of all audio consumption, followed by personal music (15%), SiriusXM (11%) and other paid streaming services (9%). The study found even among those who have access to connected car technology, radio still overwhelmingly makes up the majority of time spent with audio.

Radio on the Move asked Canadians how Meta’s ban on links to news on its Instagram and Facebook platforms, initiated last summer, had impacted them, finding that while many sought out other online news sources, a quarter (24%) have started consuming more news from TV, radio, and newspapers.

“It runs counter to the idea that a shift from offline to online media is necessarily a one-way street,” said Matt Hird, Senior Research Director, Signal Hill Insights. “Some Canadians who previously got their news online have taken this opportunity to engage with trusted, traditional news sources rather than replace one online source with another. It’s not just the content on TV, newspapers on radio that’s considered trustworthiness, the advertising on those platforms benefits from that trustworthiness.”

To that end, Radio on the Move asked a new question in the fall update on advertising trustworthiness. Radio ranked highest at 72% with online pop-up ads coming in at the other end of the spectrum at 12%.

According to the survey, 32% of 18-54 year-olds heard about a new product or service new to them on live radio in the past couple of months, while nearly six in 10 say they enjoy hearing about a new service or restaurant on radio because they know it’s in their area.

Radio on the Move says Canadians continue to engage with AM/FM to feel connected. That includes the growing number of listeners streaming live radio, which has risen from 9% to 12% since 2019. 

Smartphones are most likely to be used to stream radio, replacing tablets as part of a shift to more mobile consumption. With the additional smartphone use, comes the increased use of headphones, with 18-34 year-olds doubling their audio listening time with wireless headphones from 8% in 2019 to 17% in fall 2023.

“This shift could have implications for programmers and advertisers as the listening experience with headphones is much more intimate and a lighter touch might be appreciated by the folks whose ears you are in,” said Hird.

More Canadians streamed live radio in the past week than used the free, ad-supported version of Spotify, which is only being used by 10% of Canadian adults on a weekly basis and tend to be from lower income, less educated households.


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Connie Thiessen
Connie Thiessenhttps://broadcastdialogue.com
Connie has worked coast-to-coast as a reporter, editor, anchor and host at CKNW and News 1130 in Vancouver, News 95.7 and CBC in Halifax, and CFCW Edmonton, among other stations. With a passion for music, film and community service, she led News 95.7 to a 2013 Atlantic Journalism Award and regional RTDNA award for Best Radio Newscast. More recently, she was nominated for Music Journalist of the Year at Canadian Music Week 2019. To report a typo or error please email - corrections@broadcastdialogue.com

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