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Growing Work-From-Home Crowd Underscores Radio’s Mobile Opportunity.

With more Americans working remotely and the number of functioning AM/FM receivers in households slowly shrinking, digital delivery of broadcast content has never been more important. That’s coming into sharper focus as surveys show how core radio listeners have tuned to their favorite radio stations on various digital devices while quarantined at home.

During a webinar on Tuesday, Jacobs Media drew from an online survey of 16,004 radio listeners in the U.S. and Canada, fielded from May 12-14 in association with the Radio Advertising Bureau, to quantify the expanding at-home radio audience. Among those currently employed, four in ten (41%) core commercial radio listeners said they were working from home in early May and another 13% indicated they were performing some of their work at home. The numbers are considerably higher for public radio listeners – 67% and 16%, respectively.

While those numbers, which Inside Radio reported on HERE and HERE, are now six weeks old, the portion of employed core radio listeners who expect to continue working from home once the pandemic ends is considerable. More than one third (35%) said they would prefer to keep on working from home once the pandemic subsides. Another 7% indicated their employers will want them to work remotely and 19% said they were already working from home before the virus hit. “Six of every 10 believe they will be working from home or want to be,” Jacobs Media President Fred Jacobs said. “That has implications for radio listening because location clearly matters.”

Before and during the pandemic, the survey showed most radio listening was taking place on a regular radio in the car. Yet disrupted lifestyles caused at-home listening on digital devices to take off. Nearly one in four (24%) said they were listening more to the stream of the station that sent them the survey on its website and 21% were tuning in more on the station’s own mobile app. In addition, 14% were accessing the station more on a smart speaker; 13% listening more via an aggregator app such as iHeartRadio; 12% said they were listening to their home station more on a wireless audio system such as those from Bose and Sonos; and 9% were spending more time with a podcast produced by the station that sent them the survey. All of these percentages were higher than in early April, when a similar survey was conducted.

“Streaming has really played an important role in broadcast radio stations staying in the game, even when people are at home,” Jacobs said.

While the car is still the number one listening location for radio, “there's a whole group of consumers out there now who may never go back to the office again,” said jācapps’ COO Bob Kernen. “For these work-from-home folks, it is really important that you’re in their home on whatever device they happen to be listening on.”

View a recording of Jacobs Media’s “The Mobile Opportunity For Radio In Challenging Times” webinar HERE.

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