FM radio tops audio usage survey


A new survey of music listeners places the use of MP3 devices second, and listening to CDs came in third. The winner, with 39%, was FM radio. The study was commissioned by a firm called sonoro audio, which is trying to sell single devices which allow users to access all three formats. FM radio almost matched the combined use of MP3 and CD use combined – they registered shares of 23% and 18% respectively. The remaining 20% not attributable to these three leading media was spread out among others, with internet radio said to be gathering steam. "Even with the advent of MP3 players, consumers are still largely turning to radio for their music needs as it is easily accessible and free," said Marcell Faller, founder of sonoro audio. "However, consumers’ expanding, elaborate music libraries have created a demand for all-in-one audio systems that let them integrate the functionality of MP3 players, CDs and radio in a single compact device."

Another interesting finding of the survey was time spent listening. The survey attributed 16,814 hours per week of listening to 560 participants. That works out to about 30 hours a week, or almost four and a half hours daily. FM radio would claim about 11 and three quarter hours of that total.

RBR/TVBR observation: We still remember driving a car where our option was AM radio or silence, and this was well into the 1980s. We now personally have AM, FM, a CD player, a plug-in iPod device and the now ubiquitous cell phone. Others have satellite radio, video equipment and we suppose there are still a few CB radio enthusiasts out there. HD radio is trying to carve a niche for itself in this mobile media mix, and it’s no doubt only a matter of time before most vehicles have some kind of internet access. The point is that even though sono audio is highlighting FM’s 39% share as a good thing, it was probably much higher not all that long ago, and it’s trendline is probably pointed down. Programmers will have to put the pedal to the metal when it comes to providing a compelling reason for consumers to pick radio from among an ever increasing number of options, just to keep from slipping further.