Survey: Listeners Trust In Radio Has Grown While Social MediaTrust Has Declined.

Engagement Labs Sep 1, 2020

A new survey of radio listeners finds their trust in radio and its personalities continues to grow as social media has become far less trustworthy during the past year. Conducted by data and analytics firm Engagement Labs and commissioned by iHeartMedia, the study shows listeners ages 18-69 place higher trust in radio than in television or social media and that 79% of respondents said radio is more or just as trustworthy compared to a year ago while social media is 50% less trustworthy during the same time period.

The study, released ahead of the ANA State Of Audio Today virtual half-day conference, found that sentiment for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter has plummeted in recent months among radio listeners, with Facebook down 56%, Instagram down 38% and Twitter down 140%.

Among radio listeners 18-69, the survey found 75% trust radio, 66% trust television, 57% trust websites, 38% trust Twitter and 37% trust Facebook.

According to a press release summarizing the study, respondents said listening to radio and its on-air personalities helps them feel less isolated and more connected to their community, especially with the current social distancing guidelines.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has made it more important than ever for Americans to get information they trust and to find ways to connect with people – and these findings show that radio continues to deliver a much needed and sought out trusted companionship during this historic and uncertain time,” said Gayle Troberman, Chief Marketing Officer for iHeartMedia. “At iHeart, it’s not only important that we reach nine of out of 10 Americans, but that we continue to deliver a human-first approach to programming on our more than 850 stations in over 160 markets that gives our listeners the information and listening experience they want and trust, especially during these uncertain times we are in.”

The survey also found that an overwhelming majority of respondents indicated that radio improves their mood, helps them feel less isolated and more connected to their community. More than three-fourth of respondents (77%) trust the information they receive from their favorite on-air hosts. In addition, heavy radio listeners were found to wield robust word of mouth power for advertisers, having more brand conversations and more influence than heavy internet users and TV viewers.

The trustworthiness study was conducted by Engagement Labs from July 27-29 among radio listeners ages 18-69. The findings released also include data from Engagement Labs TotalSocial, fielded from July 2019 – July 2020.