Commercial radio reports record high audience in 2019

• Revenue might be down, but more listen to radio than ever before

Australian commercial radio continues to attract listeners, with a record high 10.891 million people listening each week across the five metropolitan capital cities in 2019, a 1.4% increase compared to the more than 10.7 million in 2018 and up 9.7% in the last five years.

This is according to the latest data collected in Commercial Radio Australia’s annual listening summary, prepared by GfK.

Of those 10.891 million people, 10.4% are aged 10-17, 11.6% are aged 18-24, 26.7% are aged 25-39, 22.5% are aged 40-54, 12.6% are aged 55-64 and 16.2% are aged 65+.

See also: Commercial radio metropolitan ad revenue slides 6% in 2019

Total metropolitan listeners to commercial radio have not only increased year-over-year, but audiences have also increased across all age groups in the last five years, with listeners aged 10-17 up 5.7%, 18-24 up 5.2%, 25-39 growing by 10.5%, 40-54 rising by 4.5%, 55-64 up 9.8% and listeners 65+ increasing by 26.8%.

Commercial radio reached 77.3% of Australians aged 10+ in the five metropolitan capital cities in 2019, virtually unchanged from 77.6% in 2018. Demographically, commercial radio reaches 86.8% of people 10-17 years old, 77.4% of people 18-24 years old, 77.3% of people 25-39 years old, 79.8% of people 40-54 years old, 78.4% of people 55-64 years old and 66.5% of people 65+.

Audiences spent 13 hours and 23 minutes listening to commercial radio each week in 2019. When looking at content consumed, millions of Australians tune in to breakfast and drive radio, with over 7.8 million people listening to commercial breakfast radio (Mon-Fri) each week and 6.9 million people listening to commercial drive radio (Mon-Fri).

Listening in vehicles continues to be the dominant location, with 64.2% of people reporting that they listen to commercial radio there (64% in 2018). Meanwhile, 42% of people listen to commercial radio at home (42.5% in 2018), 13.8% listen while at work (13.9% in 2018) and 8% report that they listen elsewhere (7.8% in 2018).

“Australian commercial radio retains its exceptional reach and enduring popularity, with commercial radio consistently delivering informative, entertaining, relevant, live and local content of a high standard – a fact appreciated by our audiences and underpinned by increasing listener numbers,” said Joan Warner, chief executive officer of Commercial Radio Australia.

“In spite of increased competition and choice, we saw younger listeners in the 10-17-year-old age group spending 9 hours and 23 minutes listening to commercial radio each week in 2019. That’s 26 minutes more than they did five years ago.”

Currently, 49% of all households have access to a DAB+ device in their home, vehicle or workplace, with the number of those listening to DAB+ in their car in metropolitan centres having risen by 107.9% in the last five years.

DAB + digital radio was also made available permanently in Hobart, Darwin, Canberra and Mandurah in 2019 and planning for the roll out of more permanent DAB+ digital radio services into regions will continue in 2020, with Gold Coast planning already underway.

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