By Holland Cooke
“Radio Listening During Covid-19: What’s Changed,” presented by Nielsen Audio Senior VP/Client Services John Snyder, draws the road map to radio’s New Normal.
Tom Hanks and the NBA
Charting a day-by-day Average Quarter Hour analysis of PPM Markets, Snyder pointed to March 11 — when NBA games were canceled — and March 12 — when Tom Hanks announced he had tested positive – as “really the two days you could identify as being the start of this whole thing.” Listening levels haven’t been the same since.
On the surface, the drop-off seemed universal.
But as Snyder drilled-down, some useful distinctions appeared:
- “The higher your education level achieved, the more your radio listening fell-off.”
- Ditto Income levels: The more you make, the more your listening declined.
“One of the things we know about radio listening is that it’s really skewed toward full-time workers.”
Based on PPM panelists’ self-identified Occupation:
- “If you identified yourself as a ‘driver’ [i.e., Uber, FedEx, etc.], you listened to twice as much radio as the average person in March.”
- “If you were a builder or contractor, you listened to 45% more radio. First responders, policemen, registered nurses, all of those occupations had radio listening above the average radio listening.”
- The drop-off in listening was greater in households with higher education and income. “If you were lucky enough to be able to do your job at home, you did. If you had to go out…those people listened to more radio than those who stayed at home.”
- See the pattern? “Those who had to go out and make a living, those are the ones who are carrying radio today.”
Accordingly, Snyder urges that stations “tailor messages and speak to the right people.” More on that in a minute.
Present Day: “What happened to Morning Drive?”
Historically, 6A/7A have been radio’s workhorse hours, our version of TV’s prime time. Not now.
And in-home TSL didn’t simply migrate to TV.
“If you don’t need to commute to an office, and you’re lucky enough to be able to work from home, and your kids are doing online school, and they’re old-enough to take care of themselves, there is no reason why you still need to get up” in time for Morning Drive radio consumption as we’ve known it.
THIS is why we used to nag the boss to let us go to conventions.
Data draws the non-road map: “Radio was habitual in the car. How do we make it habitual in the home?”
Those Occupation numbers above suggest an opportunity Snyder says TV is doing better than radio: Acknowledging those who MUST leave the house to work: “Out of home listening drives radio.”
And promoting smart speaker listening will continue to be imperative.
Holland Cooke (HollandCooke.com) covers conventions for Talkers. He is a media consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. He is the author of the E-book “Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers, Without Buying Clicks,” available from Talkers books (click the banner on this page). And he hosts “The Big Picture” TV show Friday nights at 7ET on RT America. Follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke