BENGALURU: Around three quarters of India's urban consumers now listen to FM radio using their mobile phones, according to new research which also highlights the importance of music in station choice.

A study by AZ Research Partners surveyed 7,000 respondents across 23 cities, asking about the radio station they thought best represented the essence of their city.

This found that, while just over a third of respondents (36%) listened to the radio at home, and an average of 22.5% did so while driving, the mobile phone was now the most popular way to access FM radio, chosen by 76% of those polled.

And, as Hindustan Unilever demonstrated with its award-winning Kan Khajura Tesan campaign a few years ago, a combination of mobile and radio can also be an effective way for brands to reach rural areas.

The study also identified the reasons why urban listeners choose one radio station over another, with choice of music (100% of respondents) and programme quality (83%) foremost in their deliberations.

Only half said that the image of the station itself and of radio jockeys was a factor in their listening choices.

Radio City, including the rebranded Radio Mantra stations it acquired late last year, emerged as the station with the largest audience, Exchange4Media reported, boasting a listenership of 5.3 crore.

It was seen as best representing the essence of cities like Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi and Pune – based on parameters such as local flavour, local preferences and locally popular activations and programmes.

In terms of audience it was followed by Radio Mirchi (4.2 crore and a favourite in Ahmedabad and Hyderabad) Big FM (2.7 crore and top in Agra and Surat), Red (2.2 crore) and Fever (1.5 crore). Radio Suryan (0.7 crore) was preferred in Chennai and Coimbatore.

Data sourced from AZ Research, Exchange4Media; additional content by WARC staff