Radio is as Strong as Ever


In the latest Nielsen Audio Today Report, Managing Director Brad Kelly says AM/FM radio continues to reach more people each week than any other medium. 93% of the American population continues to tune into your radio stations every week. Not too shabby for a medium approaching 100 years of age.

Among consumers 18 and older, 228.5 million of them tune into radio every week. That’s more than TV (216.5 million), smartphone (203.8 million), and video on a smartphone (127.6 million).

Kelly says broadcast radio’s weekly reach of 228.5 million also outpaces the 68.5 million for streaming audio, 35.7 million using satellite radio and 21.9 million consuming podcasts. “Radio plays a special role in our culture. Its audiences are as varied and diverse as our national makeup. All generations, demographics and ethnicities are tuning in. That fact has not gone unnoticed by the big national brands. Billion dollar advertisers are re-discovering the power of radio and how it can augment, supplement and amplify their media mix. New ad dollars are flowing to the medium, and major national brand names that have been absent from commercial radio for decades can once again.”

Here’s a look at the monthly numbers as well:


  1. And BTW, the reason the radio stations are under bankruptcy protection has nothing to do with their operating profitability — it has to do with the private bankers that loaded them up with debt.

  2. Everybody knows the media landscape is splintered compared to decades ago. There are more choices and channels for consuming both music and news. But reach is still reach, and radio provides a cost-effective advertising media. And broadcast media still provides one thing that targeted streaming media cannot — eyeballs and ears. For the most part, Digital advertising works for consumers who are actively searching for a product or category, whereas broadcast (TV and Radio) expose a product or service to those who didn’t know they needed it. I’ve heard it called “tonnage”. I’ve heard stories recently of advertisers who cut back on their digital budgets to re-dedicate to broadcast, and who subsequently saw their business grow.

  3. With 1,300 stations across the country under the umbrella of bankruptcy protection, I think we all know Radio is not “as strong as ever”. How much longer can we thump our chest about 93% Reach? This has been the narrative for years and it is not working. And while Reach has not been impacted, Time Spent Listening has and therefore AQH. Anyone lucky enough to still be getting avails from agencies knows there are fewer and fewer points available now because Radio can’t achieve the ratings it once did. The top 3 or 4 stations in LA all have a 0.4 AQH rating. This was not the case 10, or even 5, years ago. Streaming, podcasts, satellite… all of these have take time away from radio. BUT, the time spent declining is not a unique story, it has happened to every traditional medium. it’s time to focus on the advantages radio still has…. LIVE, local (in some cases), Personalities/”Inflencers”, Brand Safety, etc. Continuing to hammer the ‘93% Reach’ story is old and not cutting it.


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