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The topic of reaching the rural lifestyle audience has been hotly debated in just about every circle of agricultural marketing. One of the most comprehensive articles on the subject was in the June issue of AgriMarketing magazine.

To illustrate the effectiveness of farm radio in reaching this elusive audience, NAFB commissioned Ag Media Research (AMR), Sioux Falls, S.D., to conduct a study in 2004 and again this August.

The geography of this year's study is the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Georgia. AMR completed 471 interviews. The surveyed group all met the requirement of having less than $40,000 gross sales of agricultural production. They also live on three acres or more in a rural area outside the limits of any city, town or village.

Conventional wisdom has been — due to the large number of horse owners in this group — that programming about the equine/companion animal interest is one of the most effective ways to reach the group. The recent study by AMR illustrates that traditional farm broadcasting content areas of weather forecasts and markets still far outweigh the animal health and companion animal programming.

Specific Content Radio Programming With Greatest Appeal
Weather forecasts: 84.7%
Agricultural markets: 58.8%
News affecting agriculture: 57.6%
Buying and selling agricultural items: 43.9%
Business market reports: 38.5%
Animal health & vet programs: 36.7%
Companion animal care: 27.6%

The time of day listeners are more likely to tune into special interest programs continues to be in the morning time frame. NAFB member stations and network affiliates see a significant advantage, compared to their non-NAFB counterparts, in listener preference for times to listen to programming of special interest.

Monday- Friday 5 a.m. - 10 a.m.
All States
Combined: 60.4%(All) 70.9%(NAFB)
Individual States:
Georgia 47%(All) 47.4%(NAFB)
Illinois 69%(All) 70%(NAFB)
Minnesota 61.2%(All) 76.5%(NAFB)
Wisconsin 63%(All) 72.9%(NAFB)
Note: Chart comparison is for All Stations and NAFB Stations and Network Affiliates

Rural lifestylers still are overwhelmingly on dial-up Internet access. This is expected to decrease as time passes and more options are available, but for the immediate future high speed is not available to most in this market.

High-speed or DSL InternetM
Yes 20.8%
No 78.5%
Don't know 1.8%

High-speed or DSL Internet
Connection by State:
Georgia 27%
Illinois 20%
Minnesota 18.4%
Wisconsin 19%

Not surprisingly, satellite remains the highest form of television reception among rural life-stylers. Nearly 60% receive their service via satellite system.

Standard antenna 40.7%
Direct TV satellite 25.7%
Dish network satellite 33.2%
Wireless cable .2%
Cable 5.8%

When they were asked about satellite radio, the answer was overwhelmingly that access has not caught on in rural areas as fast as their urban counterparts.

Currently subscribe to satellite radio
(Sirius or XM) 5.5%

Plan on subscribing in the next year
Yes 1.7%
No 95.4%
Don't know what satellite radio is 2.9%

Subscriptions to printed publications that cover small farms or rural lifestyle were present in more than half of the households surveyed. However, those answering "no" were quite significant.

Yes 57%
No 42.8%

The 2005 study discussed here soon will be published with comparison information to the 2004 version. It will be available on or by calling 816/431-4032. NAFB would like to thank AMR for their continued efforts to reinforce the value of farm broadcasting.

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