In a recent study of the way US consumers get their news, radio beat out newspapers. 34% used radio as a source of news yesterday, according to a new study by Pew Research Center for People and the Press. That beats newspaper’s 31% and ties online news which is also a source of news 34% of the time. 58% of those surveyed said they got news from television yesterday.
These numbers are not exclusive, in fact only 9% of respondents used digital as an exclusive source of news. 36% said they use some combination of traditional (tv, newspapers, radio) and digital sources.
The fact that so many folks look to various types of media for news is good news for radio. Radio has a long tradition of providing both dependable top-of-the-hour news and immediate news bulletins. News, particularly during a storm or other crisis, is one of the building blocks that radio uses to develop a relationship with its audience.
Broadcasters should heed the fact that people are diversifying their sources of news and build compatible digital platforms that compliment existing news offerings. Email and social media like Twitter and Facebook can provide updates and alerts as well as enable audience feedback and sharing.
Arbitron publishes an annual report Radio Today that provides an interesting snapshot of radio listening in the US. For the first time, the 2009 report includes streaming stations in its list of National Format Shares and Station Counts.
48% of all FM stations are streaming their programming while only 10% of those stations are rebroadcasting it on HD. 32% of AM stations are streaming, less than 4% are distributing it on HD. Of the stations that are also producing additional HD multicast channels (537 in all), 46% are also streaming that programming on side channels.
Classical stations are most likely to stream their programming – 82% of classical stations are streaming. After that, Contemporary Christian, CHR, Alternative and AAA formats are most likely to be streamed. Interestingly, only 52% of news/talk stations and 48% of talk/personality stations are streaming. Those stations don’t have to pay per performance music royalties, which keeps some broadcasters from streaming, so it’s surprising that they’re not distributing their content online.
You can download the study here.