New poll sheds light on streaming, iPods, satellite radio.

The results of a Jacobs Media Web poll conducted of 19,263 classic, active/mainstream and modern rock radio listeners offer important messages for the radio industry.

Half of those polled say they would listen more if stations were streamed online and belonging to a station e-mail club makes them feel more connected. And if they don’t have one already, more than four in 10 are very or somewhat likely to buy an MP3 player, which, like videogames and other tech toys, takes a bite out of their media time.

Of all the Web polls he has worked on since 1999, Jacobs Media president Fred Jacobs says this one tells a story. It makes a statement about new media and technology. He sees 2005 as “a real turning point” for radio streaming. “It isn’t about selling banner ads on your Web site, it’s about coming up with a new way for people to listen to your radio station.”

The poll puts a face on the growing penetration of MP3 players, such as Apple Computer’s iPod. According to Apple sales figures, the iPod phenomenon is gaining momentum. The company says it sold 5.3 million iPods in the first quarter of this year, typically a slow selling season. By comparison, 4.5 million iPods flew off the shelves in fourth-quarter 2004, which includes the holiday shopping season.

Many of them appear to have been snapped up by modern rock fans. Three of 10 modern rock listeners and two of 10 active/mainstream listeners surveyed own a MP3 player, while adoption at classic rock stands at 16%. Of those who have them, 18% say they mostly listen to their MP3 player and spend less time with radio, 27% split their time between the two and 29% mostly listen to radio. Nineteen percent of MP3 player owners surveyed say they only listen to radio, and 5% say they listen exclusively to the MP3 player.

Respondents who do not own MP3 players were asked whether they planned to buy one this year, 40% indicated they might.

While satellite radio subscriber counts are small compared with terrestrial radio listeners—just 4% of survey takers subscribe to XM and 3% to Sirius—satellite radio owners are over the top about the service. Asked to rate their level of satisfaction, 44% of satellite radio subscribers said they were very satisfied and 34% indicated they were satisfied. Roughly half of satellite radio owners say they split their time between radio and satellite, 26% say they listen mostly to satellite and 17% indicated mostly terrestrial radio.