Once Technology Shy, Country Consumers are Catching Up

Country Radio Broadcasters, Edison Media Research Collaborate Again on America’s Largest Study of Country P1s
Country listeners, who have historically been less digitally-minded than their counterparts in other formats, have shown a lot more interest in new technology over the last year, according to America’s largest-ever study of country “P1″ listeners, conducted by Country Radio Broadcasters and Edison Media Research. The results suggest that country radio needs to become aggressive in its new media strategy for 2006.
The survey of 30,000 country fans across the U.S.–nearly three times the number of respondents as last year’s study–will be unveiled at 9 a.m., on Friday, February 17, as part of the Country Radio Seminar 37. The study looks at attitudes of country radio partisans on everything from the state of current country product and radio’s spot loads to the impact of “American Idol” and the sales prospects of the upcoming Dixie Chicks album. The presentation, and the follow-up discussion panel, will also reveal five challenges for the format that can turn into opportunities for 2006.
Among the most significant findings was the dramatically increased usage of iPods and the Internet to sample and discover Country music. Twenty-eight percent of the sample reported iPod usage, a significant increase from last year’s figure of just 15%. Among those who indicated they were listening less to Country radio, the number one reason was time spent with iPods or Internet music sources. Additionally, the percentage of respondents who turn to the Internet to hear music unavailable on the radio rose from 28% to 33%, and the percentage turning to iPods or downloadable music doubled from 8% to 16%.
“Clearly, the time is now for Country radio and Country music to have a unified, integrated strategy for streaming, music downloads and podcasting,” noted Edison Vice President Tom Webster. “Last year, the most common reason why people were spending less time with Country radio was that they had less time in their busy lives. This year, they apparently found the time to listen to their iPods, so Country must aggressively compete between the headphones.”
Other findings include the following:
*Over 5% of the sample indicated that they were brand new to country
*Listeners are equally as passionate about today’s artists as they are the stars of the past 15 years
*58% of listeners are aware of radio’s effort to reduce spot loads
*76% of all respondents watched last November’s CMA Awards on TV
*Fewer listeners are “on the fence” about satellite radio as awareness climbs to 88%
The study was conducted over the Internet in January and February of 2006 and surveyed Adults ages 12-64. Respondents were drawn from listener databases of 18 Country stations across the US, and was geographically balanced and demographically weighted to reflect the national country audience.
Click Here to Download the CRS 37/Edison Media Research Country P1 Study
About Edison Media Research
Edison Media Research conducts survey research and provides strategic information to radio stations, television stations, newspapers, cable networks, record labels, Internet companies and other media organizations.
Edison Media Research works with many of the largest American radio ownership groups, including Entercom, ABC Radio, Infinity, Bonneville and Westwood One, and also conducts strategic and perceptual research for a broad array of companies including AOL/Time Warner, Yahoo!, Sony Music, Princeton University, Northwestern University, Universal Music Group, Time-Life Music and the Voice of America. Edison Media Research also conducts research for successful radio stations in South America, Africa, Asia, Canada and Europe.
Beginning in 2004, Edison Media Research conducts all exit polls and election projections for the six major news organizations–ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox, NBC and the Associated Press–and designed and operated the CNN RealVote election projection system in 2002.
All of Edison Media Research’s industry studies can be found on the company’s Web site at www.edisonresearch.com and can be downloaded free of charge.