Since mid-March 2020, the COVID-19 outbreak has radically changed where and how people work in Canada, as well as where and how they get news, entertainment and music.

Most radio listening used to occur during the rush-hour drive. As commuters went to and from work, they tuned into their favourite station and hosts for the latest news, entertainment updates and music to make their drive more enjoyable. Now that most Canadians have switched to working from home, the patterns of listening have changed.

At the beginning of the lockdown, tuning levels fell as many Canadians switched to working from home and weren’t listening to the radio in the car during the traditional daily commute. However, since the beginning of May, radio tuning started to climb.  Although it's not yet reached the pre-lockdown levels, the analysis is encouraging.

Our radio dashboard, built using ConexAPI , shows the shifts in radio tuning across the country during this period. It includes ratings by market, weekly reach, hours tuned, out-of-home vs in-home tuning and streaming.

Here are some highlights:

  • In Toronto, the average minute audience for A25-54 in Sep/Oct was 21% higher than during the initial lockdown period.
  • In home listening for Ind2+ grew in all the reported markets during Nov/Dec compared with the previous period.
  • The average minute audience for A25-54 in Calgary during weekend daytime is 4% higher than pre-lockdown levels.
  • Breakfast ratings for A25-54 in the Montréal Franco market grew steadily until November when they were 76% higher than in April and 7% higher than in January 2020.
  • Listening for A55+ has not been impacted to the same extent as other audiences and in Calgary, their listening in Nov/Dec was 8% higher than pre-lockdown.
  • In Vancouver, the average audience for Ind2+ streaming radio content in Nov/Dec is 15% higher than before lockdown but accounts for only 13% of total listening.

Clients with radio PPM subscriptions can access the full dashboard either through Lens or the home page of

InstarRadio PPM.


Click to access our recent webinar on TV viewing & advertising during COVID-19


Other blog posts:

Radio advertising during COVID-19

Impact of COVID-19 on TV viewing

Podcast listening in Canada: who's doing it and how often?


Posted by Jo Loup

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