Radio is in a good place as the latest Radio Audience Measurement (Rams) data shows.

The data highlights radio’s continued strong reach and resonance in South Africa:

75% of South Africans 15+ listen to radio weekly, with an average daily time spent listening of five hours and 12 minutes.

Radio scores well across all socio-economic groups.

Even as digital platforms grow, broadcast radio co-exists strongly, with 68% of social media users and 76% of music streamers being weekly radio listeners as well.

Commercial and public stations attract varied audiences, with many stations garnering over 1 million weekly listeners across languages like Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans, and English.

“South Africa’s radio landscape is incredibly vibrant with over 300 community and commercial stations broadcasting in 11 official languages across four distinct audience segments,” says the Broadcast Research Council of South Africa’s (BRC) CEO, Gary Whitaker.

“Radio’s intimacy and local cultural connections enable it to thrive alongside new media. Stations like Ukhozi FM, Metro FM, and Umhlobo Wenene FM remain powerhouses with vast footprints even as digital behaviours advance,” he adds.
Radio listening behaviours

“Accurately measuring listening in this complex environment requires innovative methodologies and robust data integration,” explains Whitaker.

Recently the BRC hosted Ian Garland of Milton Data, modeller of the new Rams Amplify Reach & Frequency data, to present the intrinsic nature of the model. Rams Amplify provides a comprehensive view into radio listening behaviours across the diverse South African market.

The Rams Amplify model combines a high-quality CATI (Computer Aided Telephonic Interview) day-after-recall (DAR) survey as the core currency measurement with supplemental data sources.

This hybrid approach captures both basic listening metrics and deeper insights.
A true single-source view of audio

The plan is to construct a seven-day listener from a CATI-based DAR methodology by building a synthetic panel of listeners.

While the CATI survey is the core of Rams Amplify, the BRC worked to incorporate other data sources to enrich insights. Its previously proposed MediaCell passive measurement panel was paused in October 2023 due to various challenges in deploying the app in certain segments.

By skilfully fusing and modelling the CATI data, Rams Amplify data provides both robust ratings and rich insights.

Advanced modelling starting with 73, 920 respondents and a 24-month database creates a virtual panel of 400,000+ respondents to allow for reliable analysis of listening by municipality, socio-economic segment, age and more.

“We’ve created a best-in-class fused solution that combines the advantages of a high-quality phone survey with leading data science techniques,” confirms Whitaker.

“This allows us to deliver a true single-source view of audio alongside robust planning data for radio.”

Exploring the role of radio in the audio space

Going forward, the BRC will further enhance Rams Amplify with improvements such as a streamlined questionnaire, a crosstab database that is aligned with the planning database in that it too is a 7-day dataset and 24-months rolling, potential incorporation of online and face-to-face elements when gathering data and the inclusion of streaming listeners into the planning data.

They also aim to examine opportunities beyond audience measurement such as fusing Rams Amplify with audio need-states.

“With a solid core measurement now established, we can explore radio’s role in the full audio landscape, including streaming, podcasting and more,” says Whitaker.

“Our goal is to provide an unparalleled understanding of how brands can best utilise audio to engage audiences across South Africa.”

Leave a Reply