Insight: Can radio be the antidote to loneliness?- Pure Radio

The UK is facing a loneliness epidemic but research from digital radio experts, Pure, reveals the strong emotional bond consumers place on radio presenters (whether from live radio or radio content including podcasts) with almost 60% of us forming a bond with them akin to a family member or close friend.  To coincide with World Radio Day, Pure’s research confirms the enduring power of radio in an age when other channels like TV and social media are criticised for fuelling the loneliness epidemic.

The top two emotions consumers feel when their favourite radio host leaves for a new station are ‘disappointed’ and sad’. In fact, Pure’s research reveals that they are so devastated that three quarters of respondents (72%) would follow presenters to their new radio station. Surprisingly, one in five feel attached to more than one presenter, highlighting how strong the bond can be between radio presenter and listener.  Even though radio is a personal affair, with over 80% of respondents listening by themselves, leading psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos attributes the sound of a familiar and friendly voice filling the space you are in as minimising the feeling of being lonely despite being alone.

Dr Papadopoulos, adds: “There is something about the consistency of radio, the familiar voice that you can listen to across different locations, that makes it personal.  The consistency of voices, whether it is a DJ or a call-in show, evoke a sense of community and belonging; something that is a great antidote to feeling lonely. Also, because radio uses voice rather than text or images to connect, it often allows for a more nuanced discussion and so feels less isolating than some media platforms. Finally, but really importantly, it’s also about what you listen to – from the songs that move you, to opinions that stimulate you, it can serve to foster a sense of wellbeing, community and belonging.”

Pure’s research also revealed that radio is on the rise with younger listeners.  Half of young adults (16-34 year olds) listen to radio to enhance their experience of a TV programme and deepen their understanding of a show, including the likes of Love Island and RuPaul’s Drag Race. Additionally, this demographic (one in 10) trust radio more than newspapers and social media when it comes to news and current affairs.  Increasingly, radio is also becoming a platform for youth voices to express their views and join in debates as witnessed with LBC’s rising youth figures.

Pure’s global sales & marketing director, George Tennet, commented, “Our research proved what we’ve known all along that radio makes you happy – it was the top emotion cited by the respondents.  With loneliness, unlimited access to ‘TV bingeing’ and the negativity around social media, we feel there’s a place for the enduring power of radio today and in the future.  We were encouraged that younger listeners view radio as a platform that shares their values for entertainment and current affairs.  If people view radio as an outdated medium, we hope our research results this World Radio Day prove that radio and radio content is very much alive and kicking!”

Pure is redefining radio and audio content for the modern day by offering a live and on-demand listening experience that can be enjoyed effortlessly, anywhere. Pure aims to bridge the world of music and radio through a combination of beautifully crafted design, stunning audio quality and seamless connectivity.

Proving that radio is ‘relaxing’, the research revealed that driving was the top of the list of ‘involved’ activities to do when listening to radio. The Highway adapter range, launched by Pure, delivers a ‘new world of audio’ in your car by giving drivers instant access to the world of digital radio, control of Spotify and more.


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