Country Listeners Bring Their AM/FM Loyalty to Smart Speakers
But Broadcast Radio Isn’t Their First “Ask” of Alexa
Country radio listeners are enthusiastic about smart speakers and inclined to listen to more audio because of them. But while Country fans are more likely to listen to AM/FM radio stations on a smart speaker device than the general population, Country radio stations must do more to “ask for the order,” according to “Country Radio: At Home with Smart Speakers,” the Edison Research study unveiled today at Country Radio Seminar.
Using a combination of studies performed for CRS and previous studies with NPR, Edison presented a comprehensive look at this new but very fast-growing market and how it will change audio consumption.
Edison found that 48% of Country fans who are smart speaker owners had listened to AM/FM radio on their speakers in the week before they were contacted. That’s higher than the 43% of all listeners who had used their smart speakers for broadcast radio, and follows a tradition of Country listeners showing greater loyalty to radio in their digital behaviors.
The study also found that despite broadcasters’ growing efforts to develop smart speaker skills and more frequent on-air mentions, only 25% of Country smart speaker owners were aware of an AM/FM radio station that offers a smart speaker skill.
“Yes, the adoption of these devices into homes is a huge opportunity for radio,” says Edison Research president Larry Rosin, who co-presented the findings with Edison VP Megan Lazovick. “But don’t be complacent, on Smart Speakers you are competing on the ‘Infinite Dial,’ where all audio is available. Listening to your station is highly unlikely to be the first thing a Smart Speaker user will seek out. It is up to you to remind them.”
Music is a strong motivator for Country listeners on smart speakers—96% say listening to music was a reason for wanting the device, far and away the leading answer. 81% say they used the device to play music last week, and 72% said they used it to play Country music. Country listeners who own smart speakers also say they listen to more music than overall respondents—6 hours and 11 minutes a week, roughly an hour more than others.
In the early days of digital audio, Country listeners often lagged others in their adaption of technology, something which gave some broadcasters a false sense of security. But among those who own smart speakers, Country listeners show greater enthusiasm, if anything, than their peers. 37% of Country smart speaker owners agree they purchased the device “because all your friends and family members have one” vs. 26% overall. Four out of five Country smart speaker owners think the device was easy to set up.
Edison has quickly established itself as the leader in Smart Speaker research with highly publicized studies for NPR and others. “Country Radio: At Home With Smart Speakers” is also the latest in the annual tradition of major studies of Country radio listeners conducted with Country Radio Broadcasters and unveiled at CRS.