Key findings included:
- When comparing radio personalities to other media personalities, 6 out of 10 listeners said that radio hosts are "like a friend," whose opinions they trust.
- With even more ways for consumers and air personalities to interact, 4 out of 10 listeners feel personalities make more of an effort to foster a personal connection, making the radio experience inherently more social, particularly when compared to TV or streaming playlist services.
- Listeners equate an air personality endorsement to a friend's recommendation, more so than they do sponsored Facebook posts, sponsored tweets or television commercials.
- More than half of the study participants agreed that they trust brands, products and services their favorite on air personality recommend, a finding that is encouraging smart marketers to undertake unique radio-based campaigns.
These findings were borne out by specific examples, including:
T-Mobile recently partnered with CCM+E in an innovative campaign that included a full-day takeover of Clear Channel's radio stations in 18 markets, all facilitated by local on air personalities. After the campaign, recall had increased by over 100 percent and purchase intent grew by 33 percent.
Nationally syndicated host Delilah, the most listened-to woman on radio in the U.S., voiced a campaign for Chase's Blueprint service that increased awareness by 26 percent. In addition, a third of all listeners said they were likely/somewhat likely to get a card after the campaign, nearly doubling the intent number.
"Air personalities are a key element in defining what makes radio different -- and more personal -- than any other medium in consumers' minds," said Clear Channel Chairman/CEO Bob Pittman. "These personalities are viewed as stars and tastemakers -- but also have a familiarity and personal touch that invites listeners not only to tune in, but to call, tweet and email as if they are listeners' personal friends. It's a powerful relationship, one that has deep implications for smart marketers who recognize that when Ryan Seacrest, Elvis Duran, Delilah, Bobby Bones, and hundreds of other personalities offer an endorsement -- whether of a song, a brand or a product -- listeners take it to heart, and take action. No other medium has this power."
The study also found that 6 out of 10 American listeners have a favorite personality who they look forward to hearing in the morning. 7 out of 10 participants said they consider these personalities to be regular people like themselves, who are "relatable" and "authentic," and many have remained loyal, listening to the same personality for years.
The vast majority of Americans have interacted with radio personalities during their lifetimes -- 8 out of 10 have called into a station, met a DJ in their community, or interacted in some other manner. And the growing social media landscape provides even more opportunities for listeners to connect with their favorite radio personalities -- according to the research, about 6 out of 10 of listeners have also engaged with radio through social media platforms.
"This research illustrates the exceptional connection consumers have always had with radio and its personalities," said CCME Executive VP/Insights, Research and Analytics Dr. Radha Subramanyam. "Air personalities have a unique, two-way relationship with listeners, one that engenders comfort, trust and admiration." Dr. Radha Subramanyam Other key findings of the research include:
- 47 percent of listeners active on personality/radio station social media feeds said they feel more connected to their favorite personalities because they can interact through social media.
- Consumers with strong parasocial relationships are more likely (by a margin of 20 percentage point or more) to recall, seek more information about, purchase and recommend brands, products and services endorsed by radio's air personalities.
- Personality endorsements are more likely to incite participants to take action, according to more than half of participants, when compared with nine other messaging/advertising approaches, including: website ads, sponsored posts on Facebook, mobile display ads, sponsored texts or tweets, or emailed product/service pitches, among others.
More than 6 out of 10 listeners are specifically likely to talk about things air personalities have said, often through their social media networks, furthering extending the reach and impact of personality endorsements. Dr. Radha Subramanyam The research results were reported by Dr. Subramanyam, and were based on a study CCME conducted in conjunction with the University of Southern California, which surveyed 2,700 respondents. The report also includes insights from an additional online survey of over a thousand respondents, as well as from live focus groups, ethnographies, listening logs, digital assignments and conversations with air personalities from across the country.