It’s clear from the research that different types of audio play different roles in people’s lives and those roles can be quite clearly defined.
Radio’s role is around keeping people informed and entertained – a role it has played throughout the pandemic, something we discussed in the introduction to the event. The President of Ireland chose to use local radio to deliver his COVID message to the public at the start of the pandemic as he knew he’d reach a vast and engaged audience allowing his message to inform the public. Radio also provided entertainment and distraction as COVID fatigue became an issue, especially while people were in isolation. The high level of listeners who consider radio presenters their friends attests to this, as does the numerous stories station presenters told of listeners engaging with them and telling them the important role they were playing in getting them through this tough time.
When it comes to podcasts the role is more around education and finding out more about certain subjects and taking a deeper dive into areas of interest. FM104 presenter Emma Nolan described her own podcast as a deep meaningful chat around music, something she’s passionate about. She described it as that chat you have with a friend late at night, about music and how it makes you feel. It’s not a conversation that would work on a daily radio show but it is a valuable addition to the audio sphere.
Lastly streamed music tends to be more mood driven and therefore seems to have replaced the music listening that previously took place on MP3, CD, cassette or vinyl. Listeners use streamed music to improve their mood or to help them relax and unwind. It’s also used to motivate while exercising and music always performs strongly when it comes to nostalgia – hence the popularity of those 80’s streams like Q102 80’s.
Lastly, let’s look at what people are doing when they’re listening.
53% of people are most likely to listen to the radio while driving or commuting. 45% like to listen while cooking or cleaning and 36% use the radio to relax.
42% of people are most likely to be relaxing when listening to podcasts, with 37% enjoying a walk with a podcast while 33% listen while cooking or cleaning.
Cooking and cleaning are the most popular activities when listening to music with 50% of people surveyed saying they did this. 47% like to listen to music while relaxing while 45% like to listen on their commute.
Source: Sound Affects 2 (2021)
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