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Think you know who the talk radio audience is? Well it’s time to think again.​

Catch up on It's Time We Talked now

2020 has been a tumultuous year of change, and talk radio has been a lifeline for many. Its audience is rich and complex, with a range of views, needs and listening motivations. When addressed in the right way, this audience can deliver incredible results for brands.​

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A new perspective on talk-radio listeners

In partnership with The Lab, Nine set out to better understand audience needs, motivations, behaviours and to provide deeper insight about the way in which marketers and media buyers need to think differently about talk radio in the media mix.

How we did it​:

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 Spanning more than 200 video blogs, 20 hours of face to face conversations, and over 1000 survey respondents from talk radio and commercial FM listeners, the research set out to better understand audience needs, motivations, behaviours, and why they listen to talk radio.  ​

What we found out:

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Twice as many talk listeners as music radio listeners said the talk medium provides them with a sense of feeling connected to others, while 68 per cent of talk radio listeners use it to understand issues more fully and seek out more than “soundbite” knowledge. This highlights that the audience is both open-minded and seeking to be challenged in its view.

Key shifts in identified in the research​

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1. Cultural tension > Talk as a resolution ​

2020’s dystopia, loneliness and lack of substance in human connections has created a connection deficit among audiences. Respondents attributed talk-radio as an antidote, with over 55% attributing mental stimulation and a sense of connectedness, along with 41% acknowledging talk radio’s ability to help them make better informed decisions (vs 35% FM listeners). The research also identified an uplift in new listeners mood, triggered by talk-radio content. ​
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2. Open Minded

The preconceived idea of talk-radio long being the home of conservative views has given way to an lift in more centrist/ progressive listeners now accounting for 58% of respondents. 33% of all respondents highlighted a desire to be challenged by the content they are served. The research also identified a shift in listener demography, highlighting a younger, more ethnically diverse, and increasingly affluent audience.  ​

3. Audio Explorers​

2020’s dystopia, loneliness and lack of substance in human connections has created a connection deficit among audiences. Respondents attributed talk-radio as an antidote, with over 55% attributing mental stimulation and a sense of connectedness, along with 41% acknowledging talk radio’s ability to help them make better informed decisions (vs 35% FM listeners). The research also identified an uplift in new listeners mood, triggered by talk-radio content.
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4. Community Evangelists

Talk radio was a clear connector for listeners to their communities, a means to want to help others, support local business, and give back. Respondents attributed talk-radio to being more influential over major life purchases, financial contributions to ongoing costs and larger purchases. Listeners also said this information also empowered them to make better decisions and use the information to help others. (40% more useful then FM 28%).​

5. It’s An Emotional Thing​

55 per cent of correspondents said they listened to radio for the human stories and insights into people's lived experiences, and 37 per cent said they listen to radio because it makes them laugh.
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But what does this mean for brands?​

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Respect The Listener

Show don’t tell, remember listeners are discerning, value credibility, and want to learn. It’s a broader church than it once was. ​

Embrace The Conversation

Leverage trusted, warm relationship talk stations and hosts have nurtured with listeners, and use key levers like inform, explain, and humour to make it conversational.
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Empower Consumers To Be Vocal

Leverage Talk’s power to enhance and enrich their lives – listeners want to be challenged, so provide them with a proposition worth challenging. They want to help spread the word, so impart knowledge worth sharing with their community. 

So turn down the music and start a conversation ​

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Did you miss It’s Time We Talked? Catch up now.

For more information on how to harness the power of talk radio, please send us an enquiry or reach out to your Nine representative. 

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