LONDON: 77% of Brits see radio as a trusted source of national news, with additional strengths in local news, at a time of declining trust in news media and diminishing resources for local journalism.

This is according to a new study by Radiocentre, the commercial radio trade body, which commissioned a survey of 1,200 commercial radio listeners who also listen to BBC radio.

Not only is radio trusted, it is incredibly important at certain times of the day and in certain use-cases. 83% of those surveyed said they listened to commercial radio during the morning. It is also incredibly important in the car, where 85% of respondents said they listened.

The value of radio’s output is often difficult to quantify, said Siobhan Kenny, CEO of Radiocentre, “in the case of local information, news updates, community and charity appeals – what is commonly referred to as radio’s public value – this contribution is not always acknowledged or understood.”

Radio’s influence is key for portions of the country that are rarely championed in other media, reaching 66% of C2DE listeners compared to the BBC’s reach of 55%. In addition, its value to listeners is in its localism, as 50% of the population tune into local commercial radio every week, more than any other local medium.

During emergencies, radio is favoured by 60% of respondents for reliable news, compared with 40% who turn to television in the same instance. In a time of national emergencies, radio is second only to TV.

In two recent emergencies in the UK – the Grenfell Tower Fire in London, and the Manchester bombings – local radio stations were at the centre of the reporting, providing the resources and coverage, and altering their schedules in order to keep listeners informed.

With 61% of respondents concerned or very concerned about fake news, reliability and trust was revealed to be radio’s strong suit. Almost three quarters (71%) of listeners agreed that commercial radio provides them with news that they can trust. 77% agreed that radio was a trusted source of national news.

The trend is not limited to the UK. Across the European Union, some 59% of citizens trust radio the most, 9 points clear of the next most trusted medium, television (50%). Just one in three Europeans said they trust the Internet.

Siobhan Kenny added that she hoped the Government would take heed of the trade body’s findings, and said the organisation looks forward to the publication of the government’s proposals for “commercial radio deregulation.”

Minister for Digital, Matt Hancock noted the impact of radio in a statement, and cited it as a reason for “seeking to update some of the outdated rules on radio formats and production, enabling stations to use technology to meet the needs of listeners,” while protecting local news and programming.

Sourced from Radiocentre, Irish Independent; additional content by WARC staff