Coming out of the pandemic, Quebec’s association of community radio stations, known by their French acronym ARCQ, commissioned a survey to compare audience perceptions of community radio stations, compared to commercial radio and online streaming services such as Spotify. CHIP 101.9 spoke with Martin Bougie, the ARCQ’s director general, about the survey’s findings and what they mean for the future of community radio.
(For the purposes of disclosure, it should be noted that CHIP 101.9 is a member of ARCQ and our station’s director, Francois Carrier, also serves as the president of the association.)
The survey reached 1,000 respondents across the province, all of them over 18 and able to speak either English or French. The questions were posed both online, in person and over the phone, with the results weighted to represent the overall population of Quebec.
The data shows that 44.9% of respondents tuned into community radio at some point during their week. That number was much lower in big cities such as Montreal or Sherbrooke (17.9%), and slightly higher in outside of them in smaller markets (50.7%).
Bougie noted that in rural areas where cell and internet services might not be readily available, community radio stations are key distributers of information during events like power outages or the flooding that took place in 2017 and 2019. More than half of respondents (57.3%) thought that community radio stations were the best source of information during an emergency.
Bougie also pointed out that the vast majority of survey respondents found community radio stations to be equally or more credible (66.8% and 26.2% respectively) and had information that was equally or more pertinent (50% and 35.5% respectively) than other stations. The data also gave a glimpse of the future, as it showed the incredible popularity of online streaming services such as Spotify, which closely rivaled community radio in smaller markets and dominated them in overall popularity. Bougie said that listeners want more choice about where, when and how they listen to the audio content they consume, and media organizations need to keep up.
The full interview with Bougie is available here. The results of the survey (French only) can be found below.