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New Study Notes Listening Differences By Home And Work Location, And Audio Music Choice.

Harker Bos Group's just-released “The State of Media” report points out key differences in listening habits and music preferences between urban vs. suburban/rural respondents. The study, focused on consumption habits among more than 500 survey participants age 18 and up, also looks at disparities between office vs. hybrid or remote workers, as well as listeners to radio compared to streaming music.

Urban-based audiences, for example, are more likely to be fans of current pop or country music, compared to what was popular a few years ago. More than half of urban audiences (57%) say today's pop songs are better than those from several years back, vs. just 14% of suburban or rural audiences. For country, 72% of urbans feel that current songs are better, vs. 23% of suburbans/rurals.

In terms of news, 70% of urban participants say coverage of local events and happenings is “very important,” compared to just 36% of suburban/rural audiences (though 48% do feel it’s somewhat important).

Additionally, urban participants are higher-frequency radio listeners than suburban/rural audiences, with 43% of the former vs. 33% of the latter tuning in three to five days a week. While those in suburbs or rural areas are more likely to listen while driving (74%, vs. 63% for urban), they trail the urban sample when it comes to listening while working (21% vs. 38%) or exercising (24% vs. 46%).

Comparing office workers to those working remotely or in a hybrid situation, at least seven in 10 of both groups are likely to listen at least once a week – 75% of the former, and 72% of the latter. Office workers lead in higher-frequency listening, with 51% tuned in 3-5 days a week vs. 43% for hybrid/remote workers. The latter group is ahead when it comes to listening more in the morning, though, with 70% doing so vs. 51% for office workers.

Harker Bos' analysis of listeners to music on radio compared to music streamers brings out several recommendations for radio going forward. “Radio services need to innovate and offer more personalized and interactive experiences to attract younger audiences who prefer streaming services, [and] radio platforms might explore hybrid models or additional services to compete with ad-free experiences offered by streaming services,” the report says, adding that “both radio and streaming music should prioritize seamless integration across mobile devices to cater to evolving consumer habits.”

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