The turbulence of 2020 has created a connection deficit among Australians and many have turned to talk radio as an antidote, according to new research by Nine and The Lab.

The study found that over 49% feel more connected and 55% feel more involved and stimulated from listening to talk radio. In addition, nearly one-third of new listeners to Nine’s talk-radio platform attribute it to increasing their sense of happiness.

Twice as many talk listeners as music radio listeners said the talk medium provides them with a sense of feeling connected to others, while 68% of talk radio listeners use it to understand issues more fully and seek out more than “soundbite” knowledge.

“Nearly 80% of respondents said talk radio helps them make sense of the world, which makes for an incredibly powerful proposition for brands to not only engage at a personal level but challenge consumer mindsets,” said Nine Radio MD, Tom Malone.

Other key shifts identified in the research include:

The profile of listeners to talk radio is mixed, with progressive listeners now accounting for 24% of respondents. Some 33% of all respondents highlighted a desire to be challenged by the content they are served. The research also identified a shift in listener demography, highlighting a younger, increasingly affluent audience, with growth in key ethnic groups.

Audio Explorers
Talk radio is guiding listeners to explore audio options across more digital platforms than FM music radio (49% versus 30%). This digital exploration is also opening up their talk radio options, with 21% highlighting that they listen to more than one Nine Radio talk station.

Community Evangelists
Talk radio was a clear connector for listeners to their communities, a means to want to help others, support local business and give something back. Respondents attributed talk radio to being more influential over major life purchases, financial contributions to ongoing costs and larger purchases. Listeners also said this information empowered them to make better decisions and use the information to help others (40% more useful than FM music formats, 35%).

It’s an Emotional Thing
55% of respondents said they listened for the human stories and insights into people’s lived experiences, 69% believed more than ever that the role of talk radio provided a voice for Australian people, and 37% listen because it makes them laugh.

Andy Moore, strategy director at The Lab Insight and Strategy, highlighted the multi-faceted relationship people had with talk radio, with the medium playing both a functional and emotional role. Listeners used different shows, presenters and devices to fulfil different needs throughout the day.

“It was also interesting to learn how people’s relationship with talk radio evolved over the year. For many, especially the younger or newer listeners, they came into the format looking for information, news updates and big-event coverage but stayed for the in-depth analysis, expert opinion, slices of life and feelings of connection it gave them to others in their community,” he added

The research conducted by The Lab, took place via more than 200 video blogs, 20 hours of face-to-face conversations and over 1000 survey respondents from talk radio and commercial FM listeners.

Sourced from Nine