Radio listening rises again amid second lockdown in Britain

Nov 2020  RadioWorks Blog

working from home, radio listening

UK Commercial radio listening soared in November during the second lockdown, according to the latest research published by Radiocentre.

Much of the UK is under tighter restrictions this month which has resulted in workers spending more time at home. This has sparked yet another surge in radio listening, similar to the rise seen during the first lockdown in April. More than a third of commercial radio listeners are tuning in for an extra hour and 53 minutes each day compared to the period before the April lockdown.

In April, Radiocentre’s research showed that 38% of listeners tuned in for one hour and 45 minutes a day longer than during the pre-lockdown period. Slightly fewer people increased their listening in November compared to April – 34% rather than 38% – perhaps reflecting that this time around people feel less confined to home, Radiocentre said.

Conducted by DRG, the Staying Connected During the Covid-19 Crisis study regularly asked sample groups of 1,000 commercial radio listeners to examine how the pandemic has changed attitudes, shopping behaviour, and listening habits over the past nine months. The research shows a consistent and large increase in claimed commercial radio listening as people adapt to spending more time at home.

The November survey shows that the biggest increase in listening is among people who have been forced to work from home throughout the coronavirus crisis. Some 40% of them tuned in for an extra 128 minutes a day in November.

Radiocentre also identified a new group, called “Adaptors”, who returned to work over the summer at the end of the first lockdown, but have gone back to working from home or on to furlough for November’s lockdown. According to the trade body, 43% of Adaptors are listening to an extra 124 minutes of radio each day compared to before the April lockdown.

Additionally, the latest figures reveal that people are increasingly turning to radio for companionship and emotional support during November’s lockdown: 90% of respondents said they listened to commercial radio because “it keeps me company”, 82% because “it makes them happy,” while nearly 85% said listening to the radio “improves my mood.” All of these measures have increased since the original study in April, suggesting that radio is playing a valuable role in supporting people’s mental wellbeing during enforced isolation.

Siobhan Kenny, CEO at Radiocentre, said:

“With the UK in various stages of lockdown again, our research shows that people are spending more time listening to commercial radio. This backs up reports from commercial radio stations of a double digit increase in listening since before the lockdown. Radio helps listeners stay connected which is especially important during lockdown. We are all finding our own ways to cope during the pandemic, and it’s great that radio is proving such a consistent source of comfort and trusted news to so many.”



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