New research shows Australia is tuning into radio and digital audio more than anywhere else in the world.

For such a small and relatively new country, what makes us so interested in radio and audio storytelling?

Australia leads the world in radio listening with 79% of Australians tuning in every week.

The Infinite Dial 2023 Australia study by Edison Research explores audio in Australia including radio, digital and online listening.

The study shows 17 million Australians listen to radio every week.

But radio should not take the results of research for granted according to radio futurologist and Editor of Podnews, James Cridland:

“Radio remains strong, but there are challenges ahead, especially with AM radio, which is being taken out of cars in many countries and turned off in much of Europe. If I was an AM broadcaster, I’d be looking for new ways to reach my audience.”

Australian audio listeners do not limit themselves to a single platform, consuming audio through various channels, including AM, FM and DAB+ devices, online streaming, podcasts, and smart speakers.

33% of Australians listen to podcasts every week, averaging five podcast episodes per week. There has been strong growth in Australia’s podcast consumption trends.

James Cridland says: “What’s interesting about these figures is that Australia was behind the US five years ago in terms of podcast audience. But over the past few years, we’ve now caught up and overtaken them, which is great to see.”

But it is not your grandparents making up the numbers. Young people aged 12-34 are leading online audio adoption in Australia, with 92% listening to online audio every month.

Ford Ennals, CEO of Commercial Radio Australia said: “The Infinite Dial 2023 Australia study reveals that radio remains younger Australians’ favourite audio by far, with 76% tuning into radio each week, compared to 50% using TikTok.”

Laura Green, Community Manager at youth media organisation SYN Media sees young people engaged in radio and digital audio every day:

“Young people are taking up podcasts as one of their main forms of entertainment and continuing with radio as one of their main forms of entertainment. And I think, you know, it comes down to convenience, but also quality. There’s a lot of quality audio storytelling out there and young people are finding it. There is an element of, you know, just comfort and familiarity and creativity involved. So, you might be inspired. And then on a radio program, you know, you might be able to keep up with your favourite band or current affairs things that you want in digestible chunks because you don’t have all the time in the world.”

From the 2021 Census by the Australian Bureau of Statistics we know collectively, Australians speak over 400 languages. With 28% of Australians speaking a language other than English at home, and with growing migration trends.

While radio services in Australia are predominantly in English, National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters’ Council CEO Russell Anderson understands how as a multilingual society, Australia maintains such strong radio and audio production and consumption habits:

“Australia has a thriving and culturally, linguistically diverse community media sector that are early adopters to digital and podcast production because they focus on distributing their messages around the world to home, country and diaspora.”

Edison Research President Larry Rosin said: “The Infinite Dial 2023 Australia study demonstrates the strong global position of the Australian audio industry, with robust engagement across different platforms, including traditional AM/FM/DAB+ radio, online radio, and podcasts. These findings underscore the industry’s ability to adapt and innovate, providing diverse and compelling audio content for listeners.”