Kaunda Selisho
Lifestyle Journalist
3 minute read
31 Aug 2021
6:12 pm

Here’s why young women love South African radio

Kaunda Selisho

Over and above its ability to provide some form of companionship, young women love South African radio news or talk shows.

Kaya FM radio host Unathi Nkayi. Picture: Sbonga Sibiya

According to the latest interim radio listenership data, news or talk radio shows are the primary reasons young women listen to South African radio.

Older women, on the other hand, listen to the radio because it keeps them company.

The Broadcasting Research Council of South Africa (BRC) recently released the interim radio listenership data for the first six months of 2021 and found that some 82% of adult females in South Africa listen to radio every week.

“Access to local news ranked highly amongst the reasons South Africa’s women gave for listening to the radio. This indicates that a key component of radio’s success is its ability to provide up-to-the-minute, relevant content that is curated for specific regions, communities and interest groups,” read part of the statement.

The council also found that females were also more likely than men to tune into radio because it lifts their spirits and believe that the interim survey highlighted some important differences in the reasons why various age groups listen to South African radio.

“Similarly, with preferred content, women of all ages enjoyed weather updates and debates and discussions, as well as news content. But, as expected, those between 15 and 49 years ranked the latest music highly, while the 50 plus group tuned into the radio for ‘older’ music from earlier decades.”

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Where women listed to South African radio

Because of the personal nature of the medium and the fact that it is easily accessible while on the go, the council said “the places where women listen to it are reflective of their age and stage of life.”

The council further found that younger women are more likely than the older groups to listen to the radio outside of the home.

“For example, teenagers, where friendships rank highly in their daily lives, are more likely to listen to the radio at a friend’s home,” explained the BRC.

“The 25 – 34-year-olds, who are a more socially active crowd, are the group most likely to listen in formal and informal drinking establishments and restaurants.”

The council broke down the direct link between commuter listening and age:

  • 18 – 24-year-olds the more likely group to listen at taxi ranks
  • 18 – 34-year-olds at train stations
  • 25 – 49-year-olds are more likely than other groups to listen to the radio in motor cars and at work due to their status as the more economically active age groups

”The data shared by the BRC highlights the continued appeal of radio to women and particularly to younger, economically active women, with 55% of female radio listeners being between the ages of 25 and 35 years,” commented National Association of Broadcaster Executive Director Nadia Bulbulia.

“Another important insight from the data is the ability of radio to easily reach across all ages groups, but also to provide content that meets the needs of specific age groups,” she added.

Bulbulia concluded by stating that the findings that companionship and news are main reasons for listening to the radio are not unexpected considering the fact that South Africans have been living through a pandemic for over a year.

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) is a voluntary association that was formed in 1993 to foster and promote the development of a sustainable and robust broadcasting system in South Africa. The NAB is funded entirely by its members and responds to a broad range of needs and developments to strengthen and create a favourable climate for a vibrant industry. It established the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of SA (BCCSA) that is recognised by the sector regulator, ICASA.