Listening shifts back into the car in Q3, and new podcast reach (Edison)

In what is probably good news for AM/FM radio, listening moved back into the car in Q3, following the Q2 pandemical disruption of commuting. And there’s good news for podcasting too.

That said, it’s not all back. The following graphic is released today by Edison Research, and comes from the company’s Share of Ear subscription product, an ongoing consumer research study which measures the reach of all audio types in the American population.

The middle bar, representing Q2 listening, illustrates the dramatic extent to which in-car routines were disrupted. The car is an important environment that broadcast radio depends on for a portion of its reach and share, especially during the morning commute. The quarter-by-quarter trend above represents a basic curve of how Covid-19 has affected American life, reshaping routines and listening habits.

Edison notes that at-home listening has not returned to pre-Covid levels: “At-home listening, although at lower levels since Q2, is still 10 points higher than pre-COVID listening. With a U.S. workforce that has seen many employees transition to home office environments, future surveys will bear out whether or not this is a permanent shift.”

By the same token at-work listening, which was cut nearly in half in Q2, has recovered only by 25% from the lowered level, still a third below pre-Covid level in Q1.

New Podcast Reach Number

Though not the headline of today’s news release from Edison, the announcement does mention that podcast listening reached a new high mark. “Podcasting continues to grow steadily in its share of all audio listening. For the first time, podcasting is now 6% of all audio consumption among those in the U.S. age 13+.”

Brad Hill