Radio is ‘Comfort Food’ As Media Consumption Rises Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

As more Americans opt to stay home amid growing concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), media consumption is, unsurprisingly, peaking. Yet amid the various media options consumers have to choose from, including streaming platforms and connected TVs, a recent Nielsen survey found that 83% of consumers say they’re listening to as much or more radio as they were before the pandemic.

As is the case with local TV viewership in times of crisis, radio and on-air personalities present a connection to the real world that listeners gravitate toward and trust. Importantly, 60% of Americans of adults 18 and older hold radio in high regard and trust it to deliver timely information about the current COVID-19 outbreak.“ In a time of heightened uncertainty and disrupted routines, consumers are turning to radio as a trusted source of information and community connection, mirroring patterns observed during past regional and national disasters and weather events,” said Brad Kelly, Managing Director, Nielsen Audio.

Assessing the time consumers spend with media is critical for both radio stations and advertisers, regardless of whether the country is in a crisis. Americans are already spending almost 12 hours each day with media, and that time could grow by 60% among those who stay indoors. The current situation amplifies our reliance on media, and radio stations and advertisers have an opportunity to create lasting relationships with an extremely captive audience—an audience that almost universally (92%) says it’s moderately or extremely concerned about COVID-19. Importantly, 42% of consumers say that

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