TV is top local news service; radio strong


PollWhether living in a city, a suburb, a town or a rural area, Americans rely on local television more than any other source for news. And radio is considered a primary source, most often by suburban citizens who may be facing lengthy commutes. Subscribers can click through to see the chart from Pew Research Center.

Depending on community size, television is used by 2/3 to 3/4 of Americans at least once a week, ranging from 65% of urban dwellers to 75% of those in just outside the city limits.

Suburban residents are also the biggest consumers of radio news – 55% tune into a radio news report at least once a week – a fact that Pew suggests is a result of time spent in the car going to and from work.

Urban dwellers are leading the way in using online sources for their news, at the expense of traditional outlets. In fact, only 34% read a print version of their local newspaper, the lowest of the four groups measured by Pew, while 31% go to the same newspaper’s website, the highest among the four groups.

Television websites lag just a short distance behind newspaper sites as weekly news-gathering stops, while radio websites are far back in TV’s rear view mirror. At least radio sites have cleared the 10% threshold among residents of all community size categories.

Here are Pew’s numbers on the percentage of people in accessing various news sources at least once a week.

News Source City Suburb Town Rural
Local TV 65% 75% 72% 72%
Word of Mouth 53% 50% 58% 58%
Local Radio 50% 55% 46% 50%
Print Newspaper 34% 40% 42% 41%
Print Newsletter 8% 9% 10% 9%
Internet Search 58% 55% 48% 53%
Newsaper Site 31% 27% 22% 20%
Local TV Site 27% 23% 21% 22%
Local Radio Site 13% 10% 11% 10%
Local Blog 9% 3% 4% 2%
Source: Pew Research Center        

RBR-TVBR observation: Look at what’s happening to newspapers in the city and learn, people. There is every reason to believe that as wireless broadband improves in terms of speed and availability, and prices of devices come down, that internet media consumption will increase, at the expense of TV and radio. The time to prepare for that is immediately – broadcasters must be ready when consumers go on the internet looking for them, with a slick, satisfying internet experience that combines the best of the station’s entertainment and information with all the bells and whistles the internet has to offer.

You can bet on this – if broadcasters wait for the consumer to start looking, it will be too late. They may look for your station, and if it is not there with a professional, fully-realized site, they will simply find some other site to bestow their loyalty upon.