South African listeners tuning out

Robert Laing

Robert Laing

The average time South Africans spend listening to the radio a day dropped 11 minutes from May a year ago, according to the latest survey of listener habits by the South African Advertising Research Foundation (Saarf).

This brings the national average to four hours and 32 minutes a day. South Africans mainly listen to radio in the mornings, with peak times being 7am on weekdays and 9am on weekends.

Saarf's survey found that the drop in radio listening was most severe in the Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Gauteng.

The SABC's Zulu station Ukhozi FM remains the country's most popular ratio station with 4,7million listeners. According to the SABC's website, Ukhozi FM is the world's second biggest radio station.

Umhlobo Wenene FM, the SABC's Eastern Cape Xhosa station, is the second most popular station with 3,5million listeners. It is followed by the public broadcaster's Sotho station Lesedi FM. The SABC's Sepedi station Thobela FM is in fourth place.

The highest placed private sector broadcaster is East Coast Radio at number eight, followed by Gauteng's 94.2 Jacaranda.

Saarf only surveys listeners older than 16, but its figures hint that children are increasingly getting their music from the web rather than radio.

Within Gauteng, Metro is the most popular radio station followed by Lesedi and 94.7 Highveld Stereo. The survey found that community radio has about a fifth of the Gauteng radio market. The most popular community station is Jozi FM 105.8 with 417000 listeners, putting it far ahead of second-placed Impact Radio 103 FM and third-placed IFM 102.2.