Listening to commercial radio remained a favourite activity for Australians during 2008, with an average cumulative audience of 8.79 million tuning in each week during the year. This was 55,000 more people than in 2007, when 8.74 million people listened on average each week, and also up from 8.66 million people in 2006.

The figures, recently released by Commercial Radio Australia, are from an analysis by The Nielsen Company and are based on an average of the eight ratings surveys in the five capital city markets during 2008, compared with the previous year.

Breakfast remained the most competitive timeslot in commercial radio during the year, with 6.69 million people listening each week during 2008 compared with 6.63 million last year.  

The analysis also shows the breakfast timeslot attracted more young people during the year, particularly in the age group 25-39 years. There was also an increase in the number of 10-17 year olds and 18-24 year olds who listened to commercial radio at breakfast.

Joan Warner, chief executive officer of peak industry body Commercial Radio Australia, said radio had performed well in what had been a tough year, particularly the last six months.

“Traditionally in tough economic times, radio’s resilience and strength is highlighted. People have an emotional connection with radio and it remains a very strong media performer during these times,” Ms Warner said.

“The switch-on for digital radio on May 1 next year will also help attract new listeners to radio given the new technology will allow for digital sound quality, multi-channelling, and more information-rich services.”

The Nielsen Company analysis also shows that home was the main place of listening during 2008, accounting for 43% of all commercial radio listening, while 28% of listening took place in the car, 26% at work and 2% elsewhere. Those aged 10-17 and those over 55 years spent more than half of their time listening at home, while those aged 18-24 spent 43% of their listening time listening at work.

On average, Australians spent 17 hours and 2 minutes per week listening to commercial radio during 2008, or 2 hours and 26 minutes per day.  

People in Melbourne topped the list for average time spent listening to commercial radio each week across 2008 (17 hours 48 mins), followed by Perth (17 hours, 04 mins), Adelaide (16 hours, 59 mins), Sydney (16 hours and 40 mins) and Brisbane (16 hours 05 mins).