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Who Trusts Radio for News in 2017?

In the latest NuVoodoo Ratings Prospects Study, we asked our sample of 2,979 persons 14-54 across all PPM markets, “On a scale of "0" to "10," where “0” is no trust at all and “10” is complete trust, how much do you trust these sources to give you timely and accurate news?” Respondents rated a list of over 20 media outlets, eight of which are shown below. When we ranked the mean scores for all the news sources we were only a little surprised that Your local daily newspaper ranked number one across our sample. We were more surprised, however, that Your local news radio station was tied for number one.

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We understand that the way we phrased it had an influence: Your local news radio station can mean different things to different people. Some respondents will be thinking of their local NPR affiliates. In the very largest markets, some respondents will be thinking of all-news radio stations. Other respondents will be thinking of full-service talk stations that have a news wheel in the morning (and, perhaps, afternoon). That flexible interpretation allowed Your local news radio station to be almost as trustworthy for Conservatives as for Liberals.

While we won’t show it here, if we filter down to the groups likely to accept a meter or diary to play the Nielsen game, Your local news radio station becomes a solid number one – ahead of Your daily local newspaper. Bottom line: listeners still trust the stations they rely on for news and information.

We’ve yet to see a market study where there’s not significant interest in weather and traffic reports, even on music stations. When we’ve had the opportunity to test between-the-songs content for stations, there’s always appreciation of weather and traffic reports (and consistently tolerance, even when the reports run long or get wordy). While listeners may switch over to their local news radio choice when the weather changes threateningly or they’re unexpectedly stuck in a jam, there’s little down side to relating to listeners through these bites of information.

Meanwhile, we’re tracking an increase in the percentages who complain that Radio stations spend too much time talking about their contests and events. Among the ratings-susceptible crowd, the numbers hover around 3 in 5 overall. It varies among the ratings-likely music format P1’s in our sample from strident annoyance levels (41%-46%) among P1’s for Classic Rock/Classic Hits/Adult Hits stations to full-on epidemic levels (76%-77%) among CHR P1’s.

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So, what if an occasional contest or event mention was replaced by on-air talent relating to listeners through a quick mention of a shift in the local weather pattern or a reminder about an intersection being closed later in the day? We have a platform with continued good will in the community. We have listeners interested in things that will impact their lives directly. Sounds like a good combination.

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