Radio’s Continued Dominance Remains One of Media’s Most Underreported Stories

When you think of radio as a form of media, you likely think of words like “outdated,” “for old people,” or “just for my commute.” But as it turns out, new statistics show that radio is still very much a popular form of entertainment in America — in fact, more than 90 percent of Americans listen to it each week.

The Nielsen data shows that 243 million Americans (over the age of 12) listen to AM/FM radio each week. Audio consumers spend more than half (52.1%) their time listening to radio, according to the statistics, and traditional radio has an 8-to-1 time spent advantage over burgeoning technologies like internet radio and streaming outlets. Furthermore, AM/FM continues to be the source of in-car listening for the most Americans.

This means a lot for the advertising world, the numbers suggest, as advertisers achieve over $6 of incremental sales for every $1 spent on radio.

We in the media spend a great deal of time reporting on newer forms of audio consumption — megastar-backed projects like Tidal, for instance — but AM/FM radio’s continued (and underreported) dominance stems from one unavoidable fact: Most people have a car.

That’s not to suggest the big radio companies will never embrace streaming. Clear Channel renamed itself to iHeartMedia last year as a nod to its digital service iHeartRadio. Cumulus has also gotten in the business with a stake in online streaming service Rdio.

See the chart below:

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[Chart via Nielsen / Featured image via]

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