GfK: 20.6 million Malaysians listen to the radio weekly; more young Malaysians tuning in

The Radio Audience Measurement conducted by GfK in the second half of 2019, in partnership with Commercial Radio Malaysia (CRM), revealed that radio listenership in Peninsular Malaysia remains high, with around 20.6 million listeners tuning in on an average week.

The most recent survey which was conducted over six weeks from
September 8 to October 19 polled 6,000 unique individuals aged 10 years
and above. GfK utilized 4,500 paper diaries and 1,500 e-diaries to collect
valuable insights on the strength and scope of radio listening across the

Results revealed that weekday breakfast shows (Monday to Friday, 6AM
to 10AM) and drive time shows (Monday to Friday, 4PM to 8PM) continue
to garner the highest listenership, accounting for 15.6 million and 15.1
million listeners respectively.

Breakfast shows reported the highest rise in weekly reach from 14.6 million in the previous survey conducted in the first half of the year to 15.6 million listeners in the recent wave.

GfK findings also showed that radio is reaching more of the younger
listeners, with those from the 20-29 age group increasing by 145,000 to hit
4.8 million in weekly reach, which is approximately 3% growth from the
previous wave.

Both weekday and weekend shows registered growth compared to the previous wave, with weekend shows attracting around 813,000 more listeners to reach a total of 18.9 million listeners in the recent wave.

Among the various languages, Bahasa Malaysia stations are most
popular with three in five Malaysians tuning in. These stations collectively have a weekly reach of 64.1% (13.7 million listeners). They are followed by the Chinese stations with 23.6% (5.0 million listeners), English stations at
21.5% (4.6 million listeners) and Tamil stations at 8.3% (1.8 million

Radio Insights in Peninsular Malaysia

To provide additional insights into the radio listening behavior of locals, GfK also conducted the Radio Insights study—a yearly survey of 1,000 listeners aged 15 to 49 years. According to the 2019 Radio Insights report, the top reasons for radio listenership are; to hear songs that audiences know and enjoy (91%), to discover new songs (60%) and to get updated on current news (57%).

The insights also showed that radio continues to be a dominant and influential media in people’s daily lives and routines, since it tends to be
consumed alongside other activities. The study showed that more than half of radio listeners are browsing the internet while listening to the radio.

Meanwhile, it remains the most effective and reliable media channel for
advertisers to reach their audiences.

Some four in five respondents agreed that radio advertising makes the brands advertised more appealing. It also tends to have the most impact on listeners on a personal level with 70% agreeing that radio advertising makes them feel more loyal to the brands advertised while 65% agreed that while listening to the radio, they search on the internet for products they hear being advertised.

“It is heartening that younger Malaysians are listening to the radio and engaging with radio advertisements by searching for products online. This shows that radio advertising can be an effective marketing strategy to raise brand awareness and top of mind recall, which as a result, increases sales conversions on digital platforms. Today, with its holistic approach to engagement, radio is effective in driving a mass pool of listeners to on- ground events, radio broadcasters’ websites, mobile apps and social media pages,” said Ozarizan Mohd Nor, President of Commercial Radio Malaysia.

In today’s era where social media plays a dominant role in our lives, radio has also demonstrated to have the highest social media engagement, according to findings from the 2019 Radio Insights. 69% of respondents claimed that they have read or interacted with the social media pages of a radio station, a program or a radio presenter in the past month, compared to other media channels such as TV (58%), newspaper (48%) and magazine (45%).

“The results clearly indicate that radio remains an influential and strong medium in today’s era. With more people listening to the radio in the morning, it is evident that people across all age groups are choosing radio for their daily dose of music, relaxation and news updates during their commute to school and work,” said Lee Risk, APAC Commercial Director for Media at GfK.

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