USC Study Shows Relationship Between Listeners and Radio Personalities

The University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism yesterday released a study that confirmed that "listeners feel they have a genuine relationship with their favorite radio personalities." The study was underwritten by Katz Radio Group and provides numerous valuable insights into radio station advertising sales. The release said that demographics of the 617 survey respondents "closely aligned with the composition of the Los Angeles population."

"Our findings underscore the depth of the relationship, loyalty and trust between listeners and radio personalities," said USC-Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism professor Paula Patnoe in a statement. The relationship between listeners and the radio personalities is known as "parasocial identification," a one-sided relationship typically associated with TV/radio personalities and viewers/listeners.

One of the objectives of the study was to see how much of a commitment listeners had to products and services that were advertised or promoted on their favorite shows. Patnoe stated, "This connection can be a significant benefit for radio station advertisers as demonstrated by the significant number of study respondents who have considered or purchased services or products advertised during radio shows or recommended by favorite on-air personalities.”

The report found that just over half - 51.6 percent - of listeners feel that their favorite radio personalities influence their own opinions. Similarly, 51.1 percent have "considered or purchased a product or service advertised during their favorite radio personality's show." If the radio personality recommends a product or service, 46.8 percent of listeners say they have considered purchasing or actually purchased the product or service. The report says that actual purchase rates, as opposed to just consideration, were not concretely discovered in this study and will require further research.

"Advertisers that are able to appreciate the unique value of these powerful connections stand to benefit tremendously," stated Marth Beth Garber, EVP, radio analysis and insights, Katz Radio Group.

Los Angeles radio stations KPWR-FM, KSWD-FM, KYSR-FM, KIIS-FM, KHHT-FM, KOST-FM, and KBIG-FM participated in the study by posting questionnaires on their website and/or Facebook page.

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