As Americans quarantine at home, Local Broadcasters are on the front lines providing critical information during this time of crisis. Katz Radio Group will be updating the marketplace regularly with new insights about how America's perceptions and behaviors are changing toward radio, communities and brands.
COVID-19: Changing Media Behavior in Times of Crisis
Radio's On - No Matter Who, What, Where & When
Regardless of work status, time of day, or content - AM/FM is reaching consumers.
NuVoodoo's ongoing surveys continue to prove that radio is a trusted source of live, local updates during the COVID-19 outbreak. 30% of listeners are using radio to stay informed on cases in their immediate area - and 28% report using more radio.
NuVoodoo data also reflects that for the 58% of listeners who experienced a change in work status, either newly working from home, or no longer working - the vast majority of radio listeners are listening to the same or more radio.
Similar results are seen when looking at dayparts - there may be some evidence of people sleeping later, but 8 in 10 listeners are reporting the same or more usage in every daypart.
When it comes to station type - news/info is drawing the biggest increase in listening, but it is not coming at the expense of radio's more entertaining content. Music and talk (hosts/interviews) listeners report spending the same or more time with those stations as before the outbreak.
AM/FM Radio's Adapting Audience
Listeners are accessing AM/FM content on more platforms.
AM/FM radio is more than just over-the-air. Listeners can access their favorite stations on a variety of devices like smartphones, tablets, computers, smart speakers, and even internet connected televisions. Yet according to Edison's most recent Share of Ear data published in Inside Radio, the lion's share (92%) of listening still happens traditionally - over-the-air.
With increasing work-from-home and stay-at-home measures in place, digital AM/FM consumption will likely see growth in Q2. Nielsen finds that during the COVID-19 outbreak, more listeners are seeking new ways to connect with AM/FM - especially among Black and Hispanic listeners. Since the outbreak listeners are spending more time with AM/FM radio at home and on various devices, such as smart speakers, smartphones and computers.
Radio Masters Human Connections
Radio is mass media with local impact
Radio's local connection is often felt and appreciated in new ways during times of crisis. When stations are staffed by locals, voiced by locals, and listened to by locals, that kinship cannot help but intensify.
Stations become outlets for individuals and businesses needing support in trying times. And listeners become lifelines.
Read (and listen) to how two morning show hosts - and their listeners - helped make a difference for a local business struggling during the COVID-19 crisis.
Read Los Angeles Times coverage of How L.A. radio is responding to the coronavirus crisis
The Enduring Power of Radio Personalities
We're all in this together.
Tapping into the Our Media panel, Katz asked everyday radio listeners living in areas impacted by COVID-19 what their favorite on-air personality has meant to them since the outbreak. And the resounding theme to their answers - camaraderie.
Listeners have been following their favorite DJ the same amount, or more over the past few weeks. Listening to personalities is a stress reliever, and it puts them in a better mood during these trying times.
Not only that, there is a sense of mutual concern between listeners and on-air personalities these days. Listeners care how their favorite DJ is personally handling the crisis, and also feel that the DJ really cares about them and their community.
Media Planners/Buyers & Brands: What's the Plan?
Adjusting and waiting...
IAB polled media planners, media buyers and brands to see how plans have changed since the impact of COVID-19. The majority are making short term changes to ad spend - either decreasing or pausing. They do see improvement coming in May/June, though it will still be down from their original ad spend plan. As for the second half of the year, that's yet to be determined.
Buyers and brands are keeping an eye on many different factors - from the state of quarantine and shelter in place regulations, to the number of positive cases, to businesses openings and closings and the stock market.
"When Times are Bad You Must Advertise"
...And be mindful of the message.
The effects of the COVID-19 outbreak are widespread among consumers and brands. Where does advertising fit in all of it? What, if anything, do consumers want to hear from brands?
Kantar's COVID-19 Baromoter shows that only 8% of consumers expect brands to stop advertising. Now is not the time for marketers to pull out, rather it is the time to adjust messaging to meet consumer expectations. Consumers want to hear authentic messages of positive contributions to society, without exploiting the crisis for promotion.
Borrell Associates offers advice for how local businesses should be communicating in a crisis. Dependent on business type and whether they fall into essential or non-essential categories (e.g. pharmacies and plumbers vs. real estates and casinos), marketers need to be creative in their messaging to hit the right notes to be effective.
The Evolving Landscape for Consumers & Brands
As of this week, nearly every state is under some form of "stay at home" measure - either on the state or county level - with far reaching effects on consumers and businesses.
The New York Times has a good overview of regulations by state. And AdAge continues to update their list of marketer actions in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
More from Katz
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