Teens Still Tuning Into Radio


Despite reports that young consumers are spending more time with streaming platforms, social media and YouTube, Nielsen says 91% of teens (12-17) in small and medium markets are tuning into radio on a monthly basis.

Nielsen is out with its latest quarterly report focusing on small and medium markets.

The new report also says that 94% of 18-34 year old small and medium market population  are tuning into radio monthly and 99% of that population between the ages of 25 and 54  tune into radio on a monthly basis.

Throwing out the net over the 18+ demo, Nielsen says 98% of the small and medium market population is tuning to radio every month.

In the Hispanic 12+ population, 99% tune to radio every month, and in the African-American 12+ demo 98% tune in monthly.


  1. I am not sure I understand this. If so, where are they listening? Along with Mom or Dad in the automobile? At home (which I doubt due to other distractions)? Besides which this demographic has always been notoriously hard to track much less target for good radio revenue. If you give the statistics – please provide some of the backup to substantiate the claim.

  2. Teens do not even know what radio is today. Why do you think ratings are at an all-time low? Stations who believe they have a teen audience are only fooling themselves and playing to only the on air station monitor. Station owners, If you want to pay, your bills look at the Baby Boomer audience. Several Major market stations are finding that out but are afraid to act on it. Many small market stations are also finding out the only time they have an audience is when the local news is or local high school sports are on the air. A lot of these stations have been purchased by non radio people who do not have a clue on how to program a radio station. Teens today could care less about radio they have way to many toys that can create ear candy for them. If radio wants to survive, they need to look at whom they have been alienating the past 15 + years and that is the LAST audience that grew up listening to radio. Radio is in, deep do do…it is time to take a serious look at who is or should I say not listening to radio. Baby Boomers are a vial able market. Do not confuse the baby boomers with the greatest generation who were old at 52. Baby boomers spend money all the time on new items like cars. Household items, trips you name it they spend it. Unlike the depression age parents who raised them. Time to get smart station owners of all size markets or say goodbye to radio as you know it.

  3. Wow! Do all the commenters on this article have this much self-loathing or maybe they’re all shills for the streaming services. Small/Medium markets still heavily rely on local radio. I realize all of you living in your Big City bubble can’t possibly imagine a world that runs a little slower and doesn’t require a device in your face at all times, but this is reality. Local radio dominates with all age groups in smaller markets, where the kids are raised on radio, not by their opioid addicted nanny. Nielsen may be the devil, but it is the devil you know. Now go do some entertaining radio and attract more of those kids a medium that isn’t a jukebox, you whiners!

    • Chuck you clearly have a bone to pick that is a sore spot. I disagree with what you say about kids being raised on radio. That day has come and gone and its not looking back.
      In fact I would say that the main place your statements would be correct are the huge city markets like L.A. and Houston.
      The problem is that nobody knows Nielsen. It is not a devil we know. It’s just the devil that is there.
      Radio is extraordinarily viable. The problem is within. They need to look at what is and has happened with cable TV and do everything to avoid continuing down the same path of irrelevance. Nothing will ever replace radio. Radio and those running it have allowed it to grow stagnate and obsolete. It can be saved. It’s just going to take an overhaul.

    • It is not uncommon to hear the local radio station playing on students car radios when I’m in the local high school parking lot. One of the greatest promoters of our local radio station for the past few years has been a local student who is now in college and still promoting the local radio station. When the students are having an event they do not hesitate to come to the local radio station and record promotional materials. All one has to say during a sports broadcast is an athlete is loafing and you will quickly find out how many high school students are listening. A couple of years ago the competitor radio station in the next town made a hateful comment about a player and our team, the heat was so intense the person had to call the school and apologize and a short time later the person left the business.

  4. Wow…in 2014 the headline from this news story from Edison Research was “Streaming Audio Now Bigger than AM/FM Radio among US Teens”. And then there’s the Piper Jaffrey report in Fall of 2014 that said only 16% of teen music listening time is spent with radio, and it had dropped from 21% only 6 months earlier. Then jump ahead to a story from RadioInk in February of this year, “Teens Are Trouble For Radio”. Quoting from that very article here on RadioInk:
    “When teens were asked to explain what FM radio is, here were some of their responses:
    – Why would I sit through a ton of ads? The music I like is on my phone.
    – I never listen. I plug in my phone to listen to my own music.
    – Why would I listen to a song I don’t want to listen to? I have Spotify.
    – FM radio is for people “your age.”
    Now, Nielsen reports that it’s all been reversed without telling us how and why that happened. Give me a break.

  5. This is almost hilarious. I have worked in radio most all of my life and trying to promote a station has been the first priority. I have spent time talking to these age groups here, in this small market and unless I just happen to catch all the poor kids I am told they don’t have a radio or don’t even know how to tune one if they did. I have had others plain tell me they don’t use it. And of course many that listen to music through their Iphones. I have a FB page and no one could care less to comment or even give the station a basic signal report. The reality here is some business have the local station on low to fill the deadness but i dont even know any friends that care to tune it in while driving. That is the reality check.

  6. Who writes this nonsense? Aren’t you guys tired of pushing this nonsense. I literally cannot count the number of articles over the years that are EXACTLY the same.
    Radio rah rah! How about a reality check?

  7. This article is so vague that it is almost funny! OK, listeners STILL tune into radio monthly but how long?? Is it one or two minutes monthly or many hours? Throw the quarter hour stats along with the demos out there next time.


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