Research indicates what drives radio listening in GTA

EKOS Media Research conducted some interesting research amongst 1,279 residents of the GTA in April. While some of the results may be specific to this region, there is likely some valuable information that could apply to radio stations no matter where they are located. 

I talked to Owen Charlebois who will be well known to many in the radio industry as he was the CEO of BBM from 1990- 2000. Then he moved to the USA to become a divisional President of Arbitron from 2001- 2009. I talked to Owen today about this research and share parts of this conservation here:

 “EKOS Media Research is a new division of EKOS Research Associates, a 30 year old marketing research company. While EKOS Media Research is new,  the people involved in it have many years of experience. We decided to do this study to help the radio industry and to also increase our profile within the industry.”

The key findings are:

  1. Radio continues to be the dominant source of audio entertainment with over 90% of respondents saying they listen to radio on a regular basis. “I was very pleased when I saw this result because it triangulates with almost all the studies I have seen recently. Radio reaches almost all the population in any given week” says Charlebois.
  2. Smart Phones, iPods and other portable devices are playing an increasingly important role as a source of audio entertainment, especially amongst younger listeners. Charlebois warns that the research does indicate that “younger people are moving more to portable media, so the radio industry needs to work hard to re-engage these young people.”
  3. The looming battle for the consumer’s ear is going to be in the car, with younger people leading the way, increasingly connecting their portable devices to the car’s audio system.
  4. Content (information, news and music) drive station choice, but we would argue that connecting to the community is, in some ways, the most important competitive leaver that radio has over other sources of content. “The connection to the community is the key benefit that radio offers over other media, and we strongly believe this is one way that a radio station can succeed. But there is a fine balance that needs to be struck between talking enough to make this connection on the air, but not going too far so that the listeners view this as interruptions says Charlebois.
  5. Good talent is key to the success of a radio station, but the data suggests that DJ’s are not as much of a differentiator of station choice as other elements of the station. “We think this means that there is so much good talent on the air that listeners are not likely to follow a DJ to a new station because the replacement is bound to be as good” says Charlebois.
  6. Interruptions such as talking on music stations and commercials are the greatest source of frustration for listeners. Radio is doing a better job of managing stop sets and content flow, and this is leading to greater listener satisfaction. “You need to have enough talk and relevant content to engage the listener, but not so much that they view it as a negative.”

You can read the full published study here. By the way there is more data available beyond what was published. If you’d like to know more call Owen Charlebios at  416-598-8002 ext 231 or email