GFK Radio Survey Reports
The State of Radio

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Michael Smith
May 15, 2018

Since the very first broadcast in 1923, Australians have loved radio. Maybe it’s the nature of our country­­–long distances between cities, big drives– but we began a love affair with radio that shows no sign of letting up. Radio has survived vinyl, Walkman, CDs and streaming, and shows no sign of slowing. But- technology has changed the way all media operates, and radio is no exception.


We Love Listening

Studies prove it- when we listen to the radio, we feel happy. A GFK Radio Insights survey conducted earlier this year found that 70% of people listen to radio because it gets them laughing and lifts their mood. Younger people, particularly under 17, found that listening to radio helps them have confidence in their point of view. People listen to the radio in all sorts of settings- doing the housework, driving, and even sunbaking. It’s a portable medium and people take advantage of that every day. So what’s the radio landscape like in Australia right now?


The Times, They Are A-Changin

Radio has faced some issues with the arrival of digital but it’s risen to the challenge with relish and innovation.  Southern Cross Austereo recently teamed up with smart-speaker company Sonos, using the streaming platform so that listeners can add their station apps to their speaker. Of all the ways to listen to audio, including online music videos, streaming and personally owned music and podcasts, radio still has well over half the share, with 65.3% of people tuning in. Twice as many people listen to radio over music streaming apps such as Spotify. Stations are also starting to branch out, making podcasts and other content, taking advantage of loyalty to their announcers to expand listening channels.


Don’t Turn That Dial

Radio stations are working to adapt their content as Australian audiences find their attention split between the myriad of available distractions. After three years, Triple M has dropped its summer coverage of the cricket, while 2UE has dropped its program ‘Talking Lifestyle’ for a networked sports format. Gold 104 has rocked a few boats by replacing Jo and Lehmo with British import Christian O’Connell. With such a rich variety of material for people to choose from, stations are having to move fast to grab their market share, and then ensure the content is built to keep their listeners happy.


Tune In

The radio landscape in Australia shifts and changes with each drop of the Metro Radio Survey. There are a few characters who’ve dominated the scene for a good while, using controversy and humour to keep them in the hearts of the public. Kyle and Jackie O, Ross Stevenson and John Burns, Alan Jones- they’ve all become household names. All of the stations are looking to dominate in the breakfast and drive slots. Sydney tends to like their announcers opiniated, while Melbourne looks for laughs in the morning.


Let’s Get Digital

Digital radio (DAB+) has the flexibility to unapologetically target audiences, and is becoming a real contender in the radio landscape. Currently, DAB+ is only available in the major cities, plus a few trial locations, but is slowly being rolled out across the country. 44% of new cars are fitted with DAB+, and the marketing possibilities of niche stations is staggering. One station in London has been created specifically for builders and tradespeople, providing a tightly targeted audience for advertisers. In Australia we have numerous options on the DAB dial including Coles radio airing in all Coles stores targeting grocery buyers and if you really love it you can listen at any time by tuning in.


If you want to get your organisation on the airwaves, MediaSmiths will swing its expert team into gear and put your message into the right ears. Contact us today to find out how radio can work for you.



About Michael Smith
If you need to know more about Michael, you can ask pretty much anyone. After more than twenty years in Australian media, it can be hard for him to make it from one side of a room to another – without bumping into someone he’s worked with along the way. Michael has built a steadfast reputation in media planning and brokering, which has been built over decades of growing small businesses into large companies.

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