Radio continues to deliver impressive audiences in spite of competition from all fronts.
- Why is the radio so important? Radio is local, enticing listeners with local DJs, local news, weather and traffic, along with remote broadcasts at new business openings, concerts and local events. Radio connects closely with communities and individuals. It’s the only medium that reaches the broadest possible audience while also feeling extremely personal and intimate—as if the host is speaking directly to the individual listener.
- How many people use the radio? Nielsen studies reveal that radio reaches 92 percent of the U.S. population weekly compared to 88 percent for television.
- Where is the growth in radio? Radio listening is seeing its greatest growth in two areas–through in-home smart speakers and on mobile devices.
Why is radio so important?
Radio is the top reach platform in the United States, according to the Nielsen 2019 Audio Today Report. AM/FM radio’s reach is superior to any other medium, connecting with 92 percent of Americans every week — more than any other platform measured by Nielsen. Radio reaches more people every week than television, digital or mobile.
A key component of radio’s success is that it is local. Whether serving a large metropolitan area with 100,000 watts of power or serving a rural county with 25,000 watts (or less), local radio provides residents with local news and weather, emergency notifications for road closures and severe weather, and community news including local sports.
When natural disasters strike, local radio is quickly back up and providing minute-to-minute updates in broadcasts that are easily accessed through car radios and portable, battery-operated and hand-cranked radios. Radio is the most reliable signal and means of communication in times of natural disasters — far superior to cellular networks or landlines. Rich or poor, virtually every household in America has access to a radio.
Radio travels with you as an unobtrusive companion… providing music to entertain you, news to inform you, and weather and highway updates to keep you safe. Your car radio allows you to listen to virtually any type of programming while you’re on the road.
Local radio provides community service announcements about school activities, concerts, plays, parades, and other public activities. Public affairs shows address and report on issues important to your community.
Ease of production allows radio to provide breaking news quickly. And because this kind of news is available indoors, outdoors and in cars and trucks, critical news reaches more people faster than television.
These radio facts are compelling evidence that radio is valuable for listeners and advertisers.
How many people listen to radio?
An astonishing 92 percent of Americans, aged 18 and older, listen to the radio every week. Radio consistently delivers for all age groups. The ability of radio to easily reach particular demographics is a compelling reason for advertisers to use radio. Look at these radio facts.
Teens (ages 12-17), 94%, reaching 23,585,000 listeners
- Pop CHR = 19.1%
- Country = 12.7%
- Hot AC = 8.5%
Millennials (born between 1980 and 1996) 96%, reaching 71,294,000 listeners
- Country = 15.1%
- Pop CHR = 12.9%
- Adult CHR = 7.9%
Generation X (born between 1965 and 1979) 99%, reaching 123,677,000 listeners
- Country = 13.1%
- Pop CHR = 8.6%
- Adult CHR = 8.6%
Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) 98%, reaching 41,200,000 listeners
- News/Talk = 15.0%
- Country = 12.8%
- Classic Rock = 9.1%
Hispanics (12+) 99%, reaching 44,666,000 monthly listeners
- Mexican Regional = 16.2%
- Spanish CHR + Hot AC = 9.6%
- Pop CHR = 8.8%
African-Americans (12+) 98%, reaching 34,514,654 monthly listeners
- Urban AC = 29.3%
- Urban Contemporary = 20.7%
- Rhythmic CHR = 6.7%
Translating percentages into numbers (18+), radio is the leading media for reach, edging out television as the #1 media in the United States.
- Radio – 244,512,000
- Live + DVR TV – 231,996,000
- App/Web on Smart Phone – 212,582,000
- Internet on Computer – 173,946,000
- App/Web on Tablet – 135,893,000
Radio’s audience is consistent throughout the day for adults 18+. Listening tops 40 percent at about 7 am and remains over 40 percent from 11 am through 6 pm. Most radio listening is done outside the home while consumers are driving to and from work or running errands. Radio is immediate and is often close to the point of purchase when consumers make purchasing decisions.
There’s no significant difference in the numbers when it comes to men and women listening to radio either. In both men and women, whether ages 18-49 or ages 25-54, country is the #1 format. News/Talk is the second most popular among both age groups of men, while Pop CHR and Adult Contemporary are the second and third choices for both age groups of women. Younger men prefer Pop CHR as their third choice while the older male age demo chooses Classic Rock as #3.
A growing niche market is developing to reach boomers aged 55+. Baby boomers listen to radio as avidly as other demographic groups. Boomers have disposable income for travel, automobiles, restaurants, clothing and home improvement projects. They are health conscious and are the first generation to research their healthcare options. They are also the most charitable givers. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that there are over 93 million people in the U.S. that are 55+ — almost one-third of the U.S. population. Savvy radio groups are gaining traction with stations that feature light rock, easy listening and top hits from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Talk radio is also a popular format of the 55+ demo.
In spite of other entertainment and news options, including podcasts, streaming and social media, these radio facts demonstrate radio’s place as a dependable, reliable, tried and proven media choice.
Put Radio to Work for Your Clients
Radio is constantly evolving and always relevant. Through apps and streaming, radio stations are targeting smartphones and smart speakers as a way to expand their reach and listening hours.
MediaTracks is the producer of Radio Health Journal and Viewpoints Radio, the most widely syndicated public affairs programming on U.S. radio stations, broadcast in over 175 markets.
Call us at 847-299-9500 or contact us today to learn more.