iHeartMedia released key findings about the benefits of radio’s role as a trusted companion during the COVID-19 pandemic. The new survey found that listeners’ trust in radio and its on-air personalities continues to grow as social media has become far less trustworthy over the past year.

iheartmedia logo full colorThe new survey revealed that radio is number one in trust and is two times more trustworthy than social media. The survey of radio listeners found radio to be 79% percent more or just as trustworthy versus a year ago while social media is 50 percent less trustworthy during the same time period.  In particular, sentiment for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter has plummeted in recent months, with Facebook down 56 percent, Instagram down 38 percent and Twitter down 140 percent.

The survey also discovered that radio delivers tangible benefits to listeners, with an overwhelming majority of respondents citing that it improves their mood, helps them feel less isolated and more connected to their community. Listener connection with radio personalities is strong, with 77 percent trusting the information they receive from their favorite on-air hosts.

Furthermore, heavy radio listeners were found to wield tremendous word of mouth power for advertisers, having more brand conversations and more influence than heavy internet users and TV viewers.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has made it more important than ever for Americans to get information they trust and to find ways to connect with people – and these findings show that radio continues to deliver a much needed and sought out trusted companionship during this historic and uncertain time,” said Gayle Troberman, Chief Marketing Officer for iHeartMedia “At iHeart, it’s not only important that we reach nine of out of 10 Americans, but that we continue to deliver a human-first approach to programming on our more than 850 stations in over 160 markets that gives our listeners the information and listening experience they want and trust, especially during these uncertain times we are in.”

Some key findings:

Radio is the most trusted media, two times more trustworthy than social media. The survey found that for radio listeners 18-69:

  • 75% trust radio
  • 66% trust television
  • 57% trust websites
  • 38% trust Twitter
  • 37% trust Facebook

Radio is +79% more/same trustworthy versus a year ago while social media is 50% less trustworthy versus a year ago.

Radio is the conversation medium with heavy radio listeners having an average of 88 weekly brand conversations per person.

Heavy radio listeners are 19% more likely to talk about brands than heavy TV viewers.

Source: Engagement Labs Trustworthiness Survey July 27 - 29, 2020; Engagement Labs TotalSocial, July 2019 - July 2020