Radio industry to pause survey results due to COVID-19

The performance of individual radio stations and programs will not be available for a large part of this year due to COVID-19.

The commercial radio industry’s peak body, Commercial Radio Australia, noted the field work necessary to gather the results, including in-person interviews and physical diaries, was not practical or safe during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) lockdown.

Metropolitan radio survey two will still be released as scheduled on 16 April, however survey three (slated for 2 June), four (7 July) and five (25 August) will not.

Survey one for Canberra (29 April), Gold Coast (30 April) and Newcastle (15 May) will go ahead, but further surveys are on hold.

GfK, which is commissioned to do the research and compile the figures, surveys over 70,000 people per year, with interviews in the field.

Chief executive of CRA, Joan Warner, noted the organisation had carefully considered the options for the way ahead, and concluded that a pause in fieldwork and surveys was necessary.

“While metropolitan survey two fieldwork has been successfully completed, it will become increasingly difficult over the next few months to continue with the surveys and maintain the integrity of the results, due to tightening government travel restrictions and concerns for the health and safety of the field force and the community,” she said.

Warner said it would be ‘increasingly difficult’ to do the field work

She said the unpredictable situation needed constant monitoring, and the surveys will recommence when practical.

CRA has asked GfK to expedite work on its new hybrid measurement project during this pause.

The industry body said it will continue to provide top-line information on radio listening during the shutdown period, including a GfK study on radio listening trends during COVID-19. The Australian Podcast Ranker will also continue.

Nine’s managing director of radio, Tom Malone, said Nine supports the decision, and noted radio’s strengthening position during the crisis.

“The COVID-19 crisis has been a time when audiences have turned to talkback as a trusted source of news and information, and we have seen a tangible surge in the engagement and the huge number of calls, emails, web traffic and live streaming we are getting from our audience,” he said. “We understand and support the decision to suspend the GfK surveys for three, four and five, as it would not be possible to conduct them, given the current restrictions.”

He added: “However, from an on-air perspective, the hosts across 2GB, 3AW, 4BC and 6PR will be working through the Easter break and into mid-year as we continue to deliver our audience the latest news on the ongoing situation.”

ARN, Nova and SCA have also been approached for their views on the announcement.


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