The Edison Research / CRB National Country Research Study 2009

This survey of over 13,000 Country radio listeners was conducted in February, 2009 and presented in Nashville at the Country Radio Seminar on March 6, 2009. Respondents were interviewed from the databases of eighteen Country radio stations throughout the United States and surveyed on topics ranging from trends in music, the economy, social networking and technology. The survey was sponsored by Country Radio Broadcasters ( and is the fourth iteration of this series.

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Amongst the principal findings were the following:

* Over three-quarters of respondents indicated they were listening ‘more’ to Country music on the radio than they were one year ago

* Sixty-two percent of respondents maintain a profile on at least one social networking website, with 42% having profiles on Facebook

* One in five respondents noted that someone in their household had lost a job in the last six months

* Eighty-four percent agreed with the statement, “Country makes a positive contribution to American life”

* Over 20% of the respondents were interested in listening to Country radio on mobile devices

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The complete presentation can be downloaded here:
The 2009 Edison / CRB National Country Research Survey.

6 replies
  1. howard
    howard says:

    my comment is more of an inquiry or springboard for a bigger conversation. according to a recent article taken from the newspaper, the tennessean:
    Roughly 5 percent of American adults aged 18

  2. Dene Hallam
    Dene Hallam says:

    What biases (if any) are present in this survey because of HOW the survey was taken? For example: if all 13,000 respondents were already online, how does that impact vs. the general population that they are part of social network Web sites like Facebook? What bias (if any) because they were already part of a Country Radio Station’s database? Are these ‘super’ P1s? Please elaborate…thanks.

  3. Bob Mitchell
    Bob Mitchell says:

    ….country music is no longer definitive in sound when I tune in and question it’s format within 3 minutes of listening.

  4. Tom Webster
    Tom Webster says:

    Dene–in no way is this survey presented as representative of the gen pop, and we are careful to say “of these respondents.” There is no question that, by dint of both being online AND being in a station’s database, they are a kind of “super-online-P1″; a flavor, not the whole enchilada. To that end, these respondents may be more extreme in some aspects, and less extreme in others. We would represent this as indicative of the opinions of the most active listeners of these stations–opinions which are important, but by no means the complete picture. Having said all that (and somewhat in response to Howard, above) we also have fresh data here at Edison that will be published soon on the prevalence amongst the general population (and the representative, “average” country fan) that shows Facebook and other social networking sites as a lot bigger than they were a year ago. Greater than 60%? No. Greater than 25%? You betcha. As I say often when I present this sort of data, change occurs at the margin. When you have a *very* sizable, growing subset involved with social networking, even if it does not exceed 50% of the gen pop, then they cannot be ignored by Radio, and Radio risks losing a substantial opportunity by not pursuing them–especially when ‘pursuing them’ merely takes a little effort, hardly any budget, and it isn’t an ‘either-or’ proposition to attract both technophiles and luddites alike. Often when people look at data like this, they engage in a kind of ‘zero-sum’ thinking–but it’s a false choice to decide that choosing to engage x% of your audience online isn’t important because of all the folks who aren’t active online. The effort involved for the former is minimal, with immense rewards–especially in terms of online reputation, links and eventual search engine benefits.
    Thanks, as always, for reading!

  5. Michael McDowell/Blitz Magazine
    Michael McDowell/Blitz Magazine says:

    It’s obvious that whatever method was used to determine who the 13,000 respondents to this survey would be left out not only key components of the demographic, but any real details about the music itself.
    Country music was one of the last holdouts against selling out to the flavor of the month mentality. But after the last great movement (New Traditionalist/late 1980s) ran its course, then all of a sudden it was relatively simple to, as Tom Webster observed here, “question its format within three minutes of listening”.
    The state of the art has been improving lately, and there is no reason why a country station shouldn’t keep the likes of Trace Adkins, Julianne Hough and Toby Keith in regular rotation. But by the same token, they should also keep the likes of Alabama, Highway 101 and the Desert Rose Band in regular rotation.
    And for that matter, given that there is more cross generational solidarity within country circles than in other genres, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever why their regular mix, in addition to all of the above, should also include regular spins of the likes of Bill Anderson, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Bill Phillips, Jim Reeves and Warner Mack, for that matter.
    And even an occasional gem from the likes of Stringbean, Uncle Dave Macon or the Lightcrust Doughboys wouldn’t hurt, either. To be sure, of all of the various formats extant, it’s a safe bet that such diversity would incur the least amount of resistance from the faithful.

  6. john parikhal
    john parikhal says:

    This study seems to focus on a leading edge group of ‘joiners’ – they ‘joined’ a radio station (usually for a contest or some other reward) and they ‘join’ social networks.
    I think it’s fair to put the number of ‘joiners’ in the general population between 25% and 60% as Tom says.
    Among those under 24 it could be 60+%. Among 40+, it’s lower.
    I was surprised that many Country Artists aren’t using digital marketing and networking.
    We’ve been working with rock and pop artists, and they get huge engagement from using social networking and digital strategy.
    I’m sure the same tools would help country artists.


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