A recent survey published by global research firm GfK Radio Insights shows that 43 per cent of audiences rely on the radio news and presenters as more credible sources of information.
It is a big leap for radio as the TV got almost twice less of Australian’s trust - 24 per cent, online 18 per cent and newspapers/magazines 15 per cent.
Interestingly enough, earlier this year the Edelman Trust barometer global report, revealed a worldwide trend of trust declining among the general population. In Australia, the media outlets scored very poorly in public’s trust, settling with 32 per cent which is among the lowest levels globally. In one year, Australian media somehow lost 10 per cent of people’s trust.
With the population becoming less trusting of all four major institutions – government, NGOs, business and media – radio has a great potential to nurture this credit. GfK’s General Manager Media, Dr Morten Boyer says is not a surprise that in the era of rising ‘fake news’ on social media radio shows signs of higher trustworthiness.
“Trust is something that is earned over time through relationship building, so in an environment where people are unsure of which sources to trust, it’s not surprising to see radio come out on top,” he said.
Content Manager for SBS Radio, Mark Cummins says: “for those of us who have been working in radio for years, these stats come as no surprise.”
“Radio is a highly personable medium that communicates with people at quite a personal level and starts conversations with them wherever they may be: in their homes, on the road and in their workplace.
"At SBS Radio, because we’re communicating with communities in their own language, we feel this strong level of trust with our audiences in the feedback we receive from them on air and off.”
In people's lives radio bears the same old aura of an invisible friend.
- 71 per cent consider radio a great companion
- 61 per cent think radio is like an old friend
- 55 per cent think radio connects them more to their community
The intimacy established between the listener and the presenter seems to dominate the current needs much like it did in radio's earliest days.
Chief executive officer of industry body Commercial Radio Australia, Joan Warner, believes the personal touch is among those qualities that keeps radio over and above its closest competitors, TV and online.
“Radio performs well because it is more likely to be considered an old friend and is associated with being personal, authentic and accessible,” says Ms Warner.
The survey highlights the radio personality as an important factor for tuning in for a program. Sense of humour, knowledge and honesty were named as the most likeable traits to have for a radio presenter.
Australia’s pattern is not a stand-alone example.
The European Broadcast Union came up with the similar results granting radio the prime trust position of 54 per cent across other media closely followed by TV.
GfK Radio Insights surveyed 1267 listeners from May 11 to May 22 2017 in metropolitan and regional areas.