Listener surveys are currently carried out every two years and provide another form of feedback to the sector and stations.
The 2010 McNair Ingenuity National Listener Survey is the fourth survey the sector has undertaken since 2004. The 2010 Survey results show that community radio continues to sustain its loyal following of listeners and that community radio listening has grown as a proportion of overall radio audience in the long term. Download an overview of the National Listener Survey 2010 as a PDF here.
54% of Australians (9.265 million) aged 15 and over tune into community radio each month. This represents a substantial 20% increase in listenership since the 2004 survey.
|Weekly Listening||All radio||83%||86%||84%||83%|
|Monthly Listening||All radio||91%||93%||93%||91%|
While overall radio listenership has leveled off in recent years, the increase of community radio listenership demonstrates the deepening relevance of community radio to local audiences during a time of rapid media and social change.
Community radio audiences are not just extensive, they are dedicated. Listeners tune in for an average of 7.1 hours a week, and a total of 640,000 Australians are exclusive listeners to our services (i.e. they listen to community radio but not commercial radio and ABC/SBS).
The McNair Ingenuity survey results show that many people are choosing to tune into their local community radio station for the localised content, specialist programs and Australian music that is on offer. Specifically, listeners say that they listen because they like to hear specialist music programs (61%), they value the provision of local information/local news (53%), they hear local voices/local personalities (45%), and because they hear Australian music and appreciate that community radio stations support local artists (48%).
These results reinforce findings of a national qualitative audience study conducted by Griffith University, Community Media Matters, in which participants indicated that local and specialist content were key reasons for listening to community radio. The Griffith study showed that listeners enjoyed community radio because they liked the laidback, ‘ordinary person’ presentation style and because they perceive community radio to be accessible and approachable (Community Media Matters Report).
One of the key qualities of community radio is its potential to encompass and reflect the diverse nature of Australian society through varied and specialised programming. It is not surprising then to find that it draws audiences from a wide cross section of the community. The McNair Ingenuity survey revealed that at least 18% of most demographic groups are tuning in regularly. Listenership is spread across age all groups, with around one-quarter of all people in each age group listening to community radio.
While community radio necessarily seeks niche rather than mass audiences, the results of the 2010 Community Broadcasting National Listener Survey have verified that the sector’s collective national reach is substantial and growing.