97% Malaysians still listen to the radio

Radio futurologist James Cridland
Radio futurologist James Cridland

PETALING JAYA: Radio continues to draw listeners even after all these years with statistics showing that it reaches out to 97.2% of Malaysians weekly.

Radio futurologist James Cridland told FMT that radio is more than just music, as people tune in for a human connection.

“Malaysian radio stations are a great listen – with real people connecting with their audience.

“That shared experience and human connection is what people enjoy most from radio,” Cridland said, adding that Malaysia’s happiest and most engaged people are working in radio and that he was delighted to see its continued success.

Seelan Paul
Seelan Paul

Cridland was referring to a news report in Asia Radio Today, where a survey conducted by Commercial Radio Malaysia and market research institute Gfk, stated that 97.2% or 20 million Malaysian listeners spend an average of 14 hours a week listening to the radio.

The survey was conducted over a course of six weeks, from March 26 to May 6, and sampled 6,000 unique individuals aged 10 years and above, for its first wave of the Radio Audience Measurement 2017.

Media Prima Radio Networks (MPRN) chief executive officer Seelan Paul said people can now listen to radio content anywhere at any time with their smartphones.

“Platforms like Facebook or Instagram are also used for radio stations to deliver content, both audio and visual, making radio very relevant and engaging,” Seelan told FMT.

He said a lot of thought goes into the content to make it compelling and relevant to locals.

Former Traxx FM radio announcer Diyana Hashim agreed with Cridland that people still tune in to the radio to engage with radio announcers.

She said that most announcers usually speak as though they are speaking to a single person, which allows the audience to feel the connection.

“Back in those days, radio announcers used to make quirky voices, but now people don’t eat that up any more.

“They now want to be able to relate to the radio announcers,” she told FMT.

Diyana Hashim
Diyana Hashim

According to the survey, Malaysians aged 10 and above mostly tune in to breakfast shows, aired on weekdays (Monday to Friday, 6am–10am) and drive time shows (Monday to Friday, 4pm–8pm).

In another survey carried out last year, the data showed the majority of listeners caught the broadcasts in their cars, with a reach of 15.4 million people. Home radio had 12.1 million listeners.

Surprisingly, there has been a growth in listening on television (+13.4%), with 7.3 million ‘tuning in’ via their Astro decoders, and on smartphones (+6.8%), reaching 4.6 million people.

Those aged 10 to 20 preferred to tune in using their smartphones and internet, while those aged 40 and above used their TV, home radio or listened to the radio while driving.