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Techsurvey: Good News For AM/FM Radio On Smart Speakers, Apps, Even Via Paid Subscription.

The alternatives to traditional AM/FM radio listening are looking better all the time, according to the findings in Jacobs Media's 19th annual Techsurvey. Among the core radio users participating in the survey, smart speaker ownership is up and nearing 40%, station app downloads remain near 40%, and close to 20% show interest in paying for a commercial-free version of their favorite station.

Based on the survey results, Millennials and Gen X-ers are driving the increase in smart speaker ownership from 35% in 2022 to 38% this year, with owning at 45% among the former group. and 43% for the latter. Overall, 31% frequently use smart speakers to listen to an AM/FM station, behind only streaming music service listening (39%) and setting a timer (36%). “That is an impressive stat,” Jacobs Media President and founder Fred Jacobs said during the company's recent Techsurvey 2023 webinar, “and that's why it's good for radio to promote smart speaker usage whenever [it] can.”

While downloading the app for a P1 station remains where it was in 2022, at 39% among the survey's smartphone or tablet owners, Jacobs notes that that's still the all-time high, and growth over the past five years has been impressive, with just 26% having downloading a station app in 2018. App activity is strongest among men (42%), Gen X-ers (41%), and listeners to spoken-word formats (43%).

Fans of sports-formatted stations drive P1 station app downloading, followed by rock, hot AC and classic rock, all of which surpass the 39% total. Overall, more than half of app downloaders (54%) rate it “excellent,” with women (60%), Gen Z-ers (58%), and music station app downloaders more likely to give it that rating.

Although Techsurvey respondents report already spending a considerable amount on video (88%) and audio (64%) streaming subscriptions, with 77% subscribing to two or more video and 30% to two or more audio services – and 71% agreeing that total subscription fees are a growing concern – nearly one in five (18%) said they'd be very or somewhat likely to pay a $3-5 monthly fee for a commercial-free version of their P1 radio station. The younger the respondent, the greater the likelihood they might consider paying a fee for a commercial-free online version of their favorite station, with fans of sports, CHR, country and rock stations most likely to show interest.

Jacobs' Techsurvey was conducted online during January and February among 30,000 core radio users from the email databases and social media pages of more than 430 participating stations.

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