COVID-19 research

GfK Radio Pulse Study 2020

With metropolitan radio surveys temporarily paused due to COVID-19, the commercial radio industry commissioned a study to provide the market with a better insight into the size and behaviour of metropolitan audiences, as restrictions began to ease.

The GfK Radio Pulse study reports on the number of Australians listening across all platforms, including broadcast radio, apps, online and smart speakers. The sample of 2,240 respondents across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth was representative by age and gender. The study saw 100% of respondents complete an online diary, where they were required to record their radio listening for each quarter hour in an e-diary, using a computer, smartphone or laptop. This compares to 30% of respondents who complete online diaries as part of the regular ratings. The study was in-field from 17 May – 13 June 2020.

The full report can be downloaded below.

Key findings:

  • Commercial radio remained resilient as COVID-19 restrictions eased, gaining 786,000 listeners (+7.1%) each week
  • Nearly 12 million listeners tuned into commercial radio across the five metropolitan markets
  • Commercial radio gained listeners in all five metropolitan markets, with the largest in Sydney
  • Sydney gained 343,000; Melbourne 175,000; Brisbane 77,000; Adelaide 71,000; and Perth 120,000 listeners
  • The largest audience gains were in Morning and Afternoon audiences in Sydney and Melbourne; Afternoon and Drive in Brisbane; Breakfast and Afternoon in Adelaide and Perth
  • Key dayparts of Breakfast and Drive also saw metropolitan audience increases, despite many Australians not commuting to work
  • All metropolitan markets saw at least a 30% gain in the number of listeners tuning in at home; this more than offset any small declines in the number of in-car listeners
  • Home was the most popular place to listen in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide; car was the top location in Brisbane and Perth
  • 4,456,000 listeners aged under 40 listened in the home (an increase of 65.1% since Survey 2), compared with 4,840,000 aged 40+ (a rise of 34.9%)
  • In the 40+ age demographic, 579,000 more people listened as restrictions began to ease (up 10.6%)
  • 208,000 more people aged under 40 listened, up 3.7% to 5,846,000 listeners.


Source: GfK Radio Pulse, June 2020, People 10+, Mon-Sun 5.30am-12mn, Cumulative Audience (000s), unless otherwise stated. All comparisons are made with GfK Radio Ratings, S2 2020. Note: GfK Radio Pulse was conducted using a different methodology to the regular GfK Radio Ratings.

For more information, please email Briony McLean (Research & Insights Strategist) or call 02 9281 6577.

This data may not be used for, or in association with, any commercial purposes without Commercial Radio & Audio’s prior consent.