In the NAB’s “Depend on AM” campaign to keep AM radio in the automobile dashboard, they frequently cite that the AM band has 82 million listeners in the US every month. This subsequently means that AM reaches one-third of OTA radio listeners. So what does this audience look like and where are they living?
Cumulus Media’s Chief Insights Officer Pierre Bouvard shared Nielsen diary data from the Fall 2022 book that gives further insights into the vitality of AM radio in local metro markets, ranking the markets based on the percentage of the radio audience that listens to AM radio. It’s a more diverse list than some might guess.
The markets with at least 20% AM radio listening include Buffalo, Chicago, and Sheboygan. The also data shows that markets in the upper Midwest tend to have a higher proportion of AM listening, and there is a wide variety of market sizes and geographical diversity among markets with significant AM radio usage.
Additionally, markets with hilly terrain, such as San Jose, San Francisco, and Sacramento, which pose challenges for FM signals, tend to have a larger proportion of AM listening.
Here are the top ten AM markets in America:
|Metro market rank||Market||% of the radio audience that listens to AM radio|
|59||Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY||56%|
|3||Chicago, IL [PPM]||48%|
|43||Milwaukee-Racine, WI [PPM]||48%|
|253||Grand Forks, ND-MN||45%|
|39||San Jose, CA [PPM]||43%|
|33||Cincinnati, OH [PPM]||42%|
|11||Seattle-Tacoma, WA [PPM]||42%|