On Wednesday, we looked at the programming that makes listeners’ P1 stations “a lot better” than others. But  as part of this year’s P1 research, we wanted to dig deeper, probing into the relationship listeners have with the station they listen to most…

We asked them to imagine their P1 station AS A PERSON, and what (if anything) that person would be to them… a Parent? Spouse/Significant Other? Child? Extended Family? Close Friend? Casual Friend? Neighbor? Acquaintance? Boss? Co-Worker? Stranger? Teacher?

We gave them all of those choices (plus the opportunity to write in anything else) when we asked: What would [station listen to most] be TO YOU? That is, what would his/her relationship be to you? Pick the one word that best describes it.

Remember, this year’s P1 research is based on 1,104 online surveys of 18-64 P1’s  in the U.S. We inserted the actual names of the stations respondents listen to most (as entered by them) into the question, not the generic “station you listen to most.”

What we learned is, 63% of P1 listeners think of the station they listen to most as a friend…and for most of them, a close friend:

CLOSE FRIEND 37%
CASUAL FRIEND 26%
ACQUAINTANCE   9%
EXTENDED FAMILY   7%
NEIGHBOR   6%
SPOUSE/SIGNIFICANT OTHER   .   4%
CO-WORKER   3%
STRANGER   3%
TEACHER   2%
PARENT   1%
BOSS   1%
CHILD   0%

Rock P1’s “friend” their station most, at 80%. A/C P1’s are next at 77%, but they see it more as a casual than a close friend. Gold/Classic P1’s are next, at 72% total.

Christian radio P1’s score lowest on the friend total…just 39%. But don’t take that as a lack of closeness. They score highest in thinking of their station as “extended family” (16%) and above-average for “spouse” (11%)…in other words, a relationship that’s even closer.

News/Talk P1’s, on the other hand, are somewhat more distant. They score highest in thinking of their station as an “acquaintance” (16%) or  “neighbor”  (15%). Still, a majority (53%) of them do think of their P1  as a friend…not far below average.

The fact that most P1’s think of the station they listen to most as a friend (when asked to personify it) tells us something important. It says that radio is more than a mere “appliance” delivering music and talk..it truly is an integral part of their lives.