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February 23, 2021 12:52 pm  #1

CRTC Results Of Cdn. Radio Listening Survey Offers Odd Contradictions

You may remember a long time ago when the CRTC launched an extensive online and panel survey about what Canadians feel about radio in this country. It's taken a long time to compile the results, but they were finally published on Tuesday. I honestly don't think there were a lot of surprises - Gen Z don't tend to listen to the radio, preferring online streaming, while Boomers are more likely to tune in the traditional way, car listening is still the most common kind of consumption, etc. 

The survey is long and detailed but here are a few highlights I picked out that I found interesting. 


-Only 28% felt that having access to CBC Radio/Radio Canada is important to them.
-Important aspects of commercial radio include having access to weather (51%), national news (48%) and to a lesser extent international news (40%).(Editor's note: I wonder if Bell had taken that into account after they fired most of their newsrooms.) 

-Access to talk/radio (22%) or phone-in games or contests (10%) are considered much less important to Canadians.

-Three key functions of commercial radio for listeners emerged – the first is purpose driven, such as finding out news, weather and traffic; the second is as background in which listeners play the radio to create a sense of atmosphere, comfort and community; and the third is to facilitate their enjoyment of music.

-Satisfaction with commercial radio is considerably lower for the variety of programming (35% 8-10 on a 10 point scale), diversity of songs, genres or artists (32%) and promotion of Canadian artists (30%) and most believe that commercial radio is too focused on popular music (51% strongly/ somewhat agree).

-There was dissatisfaction or concern expressed by some about the format – in addition to the repetitiveness of popular songs, mention was made that sometimes there is excessive talk and not enough music, particularly in the morning; games or contests that are in poor taste; and too much repetitive format across all stations.

-The most common suggested areas for improvement include having fewer commercials (43%), more diverse musical content (32%), more local content (20%) and more timely news coverage (18%).

As for Canadian content: 

-Most Canadians feel it is important that we continue to promote Canadian artists through content rules (60%) and that more should be done to promote new and emerging Canadian artists on commercial radio (51%). However, many also admit that they don't pay a lot of attention to whether the artist is Canadian or not when listening to music (58%).

-Awareness of Canadian content rules was mixed to low and most were neutral to positive in their reactions to the idea of exposing Canadian artists, both to benefit the artists themselves, and Canadian culture more generally. Some felt that the current percentage requirements were sufficient, while others felt the numbers could or should be raised. (Editor's note: Who are these people?)

-Many like that the music is broken up by news and talk, and feel that this is a welcome break from music. They enjoy the banter between hosts, and the humour and levity created by them.
-Podcasts are seen as completely different category than commercial radio to those who listen to them.


OK, so let me get this straight.

-Canadians are happy with Cancon, but don't know who's Canadian or who isn't. 

-On one hand, they say they like hearing popular songs, but in the next moment, they complain they get played too often. 

-Some say they like the talk in between songs, yet a few paragraphs later, they're complaining about too much talk in between songs. 

No wonder the industry has no idea what to put on the air next. What a bizarre survey. I hope the CRTC does not use it to make all future decisions. 

You can see the entire survey here. 


February 23, 2021 6:54 pm  #2

Re: CRTC Results Of Cdn. Radio Listening Survey Offers Odd Contradictions

No contradictions here at all.  Just some nuance, which in a large survey like this is expected.

28% feel having access to CBC programming is important.  I was worried that the survey would be overwhelmed with the pro CBC, Friends of Canadian Broadcasting crowd and others that only listen to CBC radio. This gang always want a big increase in CBC budgets, and more "fine arts" programming.    This actually indicates that the survey is accurate.   Wouldn't CBC radio's audience (not share) in Canada be around 28%?

Canadians happy with cancon but don't know who is Canadian and isn't.  This is a good thing since most Canadians don't treat our artists differently or separate them from all the others. Sadly some  broadcasters still do this with stacking music in low rating times etc.  So listeners don't know who Canadian artists are?  Again this isn't a bad thing, just means cancon is not a big issue for the listener.  Do people know which artists are British, Australian, Swedish or even American?  With the exception of a few artists and the most popular, you would be surprised that many people don't really know and most don't care. 

On one hand they want to hear popular songs, then on the other don't want them played so much.  They are saying that we like the hits, maybe don't play them as often as you do now, or don't still play so many of the same hit songs over and over seven or eight months later.  Also the survey touched on the same artists and songs getting overplayed which is a bit of a bug bear for me as well.   Even SiriusXM 70's on 7, 80's on 8 have about 25 artists they overplay, and only pick and choose certain songs and not all of the artists gold hits.  They seem to only play about 5 or 6 songs from Billy Joel.   So you hear the same songs, same artists too much.

Like the talk in between songs, then say don't like the talk.  This is not a contradiction at all.  What they are saying is don't talk for as long between songs.  Ever listen to some morning shows?  Or should I say morning gigglefests?   I hear many bits go on much, much too long.  Hosts sometimes dig themselves into a hole and try forever to get out of it.  Also have something to say, and cut the talk just for the sake of talk.  People do like announcers and do like to hear them when they have something funny or interesting or information to pass along.  But you don't need to make every break especially in the morning 5 minutes long.   

 A bizarre survey??  Please, it was anything but. Congratulations to the thousands of people and groups who took part and the CRTC for what seems to be a reasonably balanced and interesting survey.   If broadcasters can't read between the lines here and figure a few things out, then you are just making excuses and have the blinders on.  


February 25, 2021 10:32 am  #3

Re: CRTC Results Of Cdn. Radio Listening Survey Offers Odd Contradictions

The recent CRTC survey found that 40% of Canadians listen to commercial radio every day.  This and a few other highlights from Broadcast Dialogue...