Signal Hill Insights: All Audio Is Not Created Equal.


Isolating audio to four categories – AM/FM radio, music streaming services, owned music and podcasts – Signal Hill Insights asked listeners when and why they use each type.


“AM/FM Radio stands alone as the audio most widely used to ‘get information’ and ‘feel connected,’” Signal Hill Founder Jeff Vidler writes. “Podcast listeners most commonly listen to satisfy their curiosity: they listen ‘to learn something new’ but also ‘to be entertained’ and podcasts are the only audio type where many also listen ‘to be inspired.’”


The June 2021 online survey of 1,510 Canadian adults, done in conjunction with Radio Connects, reveals that listeners use their own music collection (downloaded songs, CDs and vinyl) and streaming services “to relax, unplug and escape.”


The top seven activities taking place while listening to AM/FM radio are: commuting by car, shopping/running errands by car, relaxing at home, working, doing chores/gardening, eating breakfast and driving kids to school/activities.


“AM/FM radio again carves out a distinct profile, most frequently riding shotgun as listeners commute, shop or run errands in their cars,” Vidler continues. “Listeners to the other types of audio are more homebound, being most likely to listen while ‘relaxing at home.’ Many listeners to podcasts and owned music also listen in the car, unlike music streamers where data charges likely get in the way.”


Vidler says “agencies and advertisers need to think out of the ‘audio box’ when it comes to sourcing ad dollars, keeping the unique context of each type of audio in mind while planning their media… AM/FM Radio serves a particularly distinct set of needs and use cases, reaching listeners when they are seeking information and connection and when they are out and about.”

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