COVID-19: Radio listenership increases by 23%

Coronavirus lockdown: Radio listenership increases by 23 per cent : Study

 In a bid to beat the lockdown boredom, more and more people are tuning in to radio for information and entertainment with a latest study saying that the time spent on the audio medium has increased by 23 per cent to 2.36 hours everyday, second only to television.

The study, commissioned by the Association of Radio Operators for India (AROI), also said radio industry has witnessed a listenership of 51 million people, which is nearly as much as television''s reach of 56 million and social media''s reach of 57 million.

India is under a 21-day nationwide lockdown since March 25 to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Radio has always been a constant companion to everyone, both in good and tough times. It is one medium that has a pan-India reach right from the grassroot level to the metros," AROI said in a statement.

According to the study done by the AZ Research across a sample size of 3,300 people, 82 per cent people have been tuning in to radio during COVID-19, with FM channels emerging as the second most credible source of information for the masses. 

As per the research, radio has a credibility score of 6.27, second only to the internet which is at 6.44, while TV has a score of 5.74. 

Radio’s at home listenership has jumped by 22 per cent to 86 per cent from 64 per cent. 

"The time that people spend listening to radio has increased by 23 per cent to 2.36 hours everyday during the lockdown, second only to television," the study said.

Anuradha Prasad, AROI president, said, "it is very encouraging to note that Radio is evolving as one of the most preferred and most credible source of infotainment. We are now almost catching up on TV in terms of audience, the rise of 23 per cent in total time spent per person on radio is phenomenal."

CEO of BigFM Abraham Thomas said, the findings are in line with his company's expectations as there was a sizeable increase in the response and engagement levels to the content since the outbreak of this pandemic.

"Radio has led by example during this time and the feeling of knowing that you’re making a difference in the lives of our listeners is truly amazing," he added.

Ashit Kukian, CEO Radio City, said that since its inception, radio has maintained its widespread reach and due to its ease of accessibility, it has turned out to be one of the most accessed mediums. 

"With these latest findings, it yet again proves that radio is one of those mediums which has the power to create awareness on local and national issues," he said.

Harshad Jain, CEO – Radio and Entertainment, HT Media Ltd and Next Mediaworks Ltd.--  said as the COVID-19 pandemic takes over the world, the role of entertainment mediums become all the more crucial.

Radio being a critical medium has the dual responsibility of not only entertaining the listeners, but also ensuring that correct and genuine information reaches the country’s citizens, Jain said.