Americans May Love Social Media, But Survey Finds It’s Radio That They Trust.


Whether it is a natural disaster or record-setting snowfall like the Northeast experienced over the weekend, Americans turn to radio for information and companionship. That relationship is doing more than building ratings. It is also building trust. A new MRI-Simmons survey finds that nearly two-thirds of Americans say radio is either “very trustworthy” or “trustworthy” with radio topping every other media type other than newspaper – trailing by a mere one percent difference.


A Katz Radio Group analysis of the latest MRI-Simmons COVID-19 Consumer Insights Survey data finds that radio surpasses both computer internet and mobile internet and magazines by double-digit margins. And more than twice as many adults consider radio trustworthy compared to social media. When it comes to fake news, it seems Americans have concluded it is not traditional media outlets that are the source, but rather online media options.


The Katz analysis also shows that radio had high trustworthy scores not only for the average American, but also among the super fans of other media. Regardless of how much additional media people consume, the data shows heavy users of television, the internet, social media, and magazines all consider radio to be more trustworthy than the respective media they consume heavily.


The gap is the biggest between radio and heavy social media users, who by more than a two-to-one margin (65% to 29%) rate radio as trustworthy compared to social media.The gap is smaller between radio and heavy users of the internet (65% to 57%) although the MRI-Simmons data shows people have less trust in what they read online on their phone versus their computer (57% to 51%).Radio also has an edge on both heavy viewers of broadcast television (66% to 64%) and cable (66% to 60%).And radio also beats heavy magazine readers, of whom 52% rate the print media trustworthy as opposed to 65% who said the same about radio. Heavy newspaper readers were the lone exception, but just barely – 66% said they thought the newspaper was trustworthy compared to 65% who said the same about radio.


In its analysis, Katz says the MRI-Simmons research shows why radio is an “ideal platform” for advertisers looking to make their voice heard and their message count. “Radio is a trusted environment with vested local connections to consumers across demographics, and all types of media users,” it says, adding, “Radio provides the best chance for messaging to break through, resonate, and not be mistrusted by consumers.”

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