Audio And Podcasting Fact Sheet
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Airchecker
Audio And Podcasting Fact Sheet
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The audio news sector in the U.S. is split by modes of delivery: traditional terrestrial (AM/FM) radio and digital formats such as online radio and podcasting. While terrestrial radio reaches almost the entire U.S. population and remains steady in its revenue, online radio and podcasting audiences have continued to grow over the last decade. Explore the patterns and longitudinal data about audio and podcasting below. Data on public radio is available in a separate fact sheet.

Audience

The audience for terrestrial radio remains steady and high: In 2016, 91% of Americans ages 12 or older listened to terrestrial radio in a given week, according to Nielsen Media Research data published by the Radio Advertising Bureau, a figure that has changed little since 2009. (Note: This and most data on the radio sector apply to all types of listening and do not break out news, except where noted.)

Weekly terrestrial radio listenership

% of Americans ages 12 or older who listen to terrestrial (AM/FM) radio in agiven week200920102011201220132014201520160255075100

Source: Nielsen Audio RADAR 131, December 2016, publicly available via Radio Advertising Bureau.

Pew Research Center

According to “The Infinite Dial” report by Edison Research and Triton Digital, the portion of the public listening to online radio continues to grow. In 2017, 61% of Americans ages 12 or older have listened to online radio in the past month, while about half (53%) have listened in the past week. This is up from 57% and 50%, respectively, in 2016, continuing online radio’s steady year-over-year growth.

Online radio listenership

% of Americans ages 12 or older who have listened to online radio in the past …MonthWeek200820102012201420160255075100

Note: Edison Research and Triton Digital’s survey is conducted in January/February of each year. Online radio includes listening to terrestrial (AM/FM) radio stations online and/or listening to streamed audio content available only on the Internet.
Source: Edison Research and Triton Digital, “The Infinite Dial 2017.”

Pew Research Center

Nielsen lists news/talk/information among the most listened-to radio formats; in 2016, 9.6% of radio listeners tuned in to a news/talk/information station during any 15-minute period during the day

Most listened-to radio format

% of U.S. radio listeners ages 6 or older who turned to each format during any15-minute period during the dayNews/talk/informationPop contemporary hit radioAdult contemporaryCountryHot adult contemporaryClassic hitsClassic rockUrban adult contemporaryAll sportsMexican regionalUrban contemporary024681012

Note: Shows percentage of U.S. radio listeners in Nielsen’s Portable People Meter (PPM) markets ages 6 and older who tuned in to each format during any 15-minute period during the day from January-November 2016.
Source: Nielsen Media Research publicly available data.

Pew Research Center

Online radio listening in cars, like listening to AM/FM stations online or streaming other online audio, continued its increase since 2010, when it was at just 6%. In 2017, 40% of U.S. cellphone owners have ever listened to online radio in a car using a phone.

Online radio listening in cars by cellphone owners

% of U.S. cellphone owners who have ever listened to online radio in a car usinga phone201020112012201320142015201620170255075100

Note: Edison Research and Triton Digital’s survey is conducted in January/February of each year. Online radio includes listening to terrestrial (AM/FM) radio stations online and/or listening to streamed audio content available only on the internet.
Source: Edison Research and Triton Digital, “The Infinite Dial 2017.”

Pew Research Center

The percentage of podcast listeners in America has substantially increased since 2006. In 2017, four-in-ten Americans ages 12 or older have ever listened to a podcast, according to Edison Research and Triton Digital survey data, and 24% have listened to a podcast in the past month, up from just 9% in 2008. (This chart, as well as the subsequent chart also about podcasts, applies to all types of listening and does not break out news; this is primarily related to ongoing technological challenges with compiling and centralizing metrics, making fine-grained breakouts by format difficult.)

Podcast listening

% of Americans ages 12 or older who have listened to a podcast …EverIn the past month2006200820102012201420160255075100

Note: Edison Research and Triton Digital’s survey is conducted in January/February of each year. Monthly podcast listening data was not reported in 2006 or 2007.
Source: Edison Research and Triton Digital, “The Infinite Dial 2017.”

Pew Research Center

The average weekly unique users who download NPR podcasts, which include some of the most popular podcasts in the iTunes library such as Up First and TED Radio Hour, rose from 2.5 million in 2015 to 3.5 million in 2016, according to NPR data from Splunk. (More information will be available about public broadcasting in a future fact sheet.)

NPR podcast users

Average weekly unique users who download NPR podcasts20142015201601.0 M2.0 M3.0 M4.0 M

Source: NPR, based on data from Splunk.

Pew Research Center

Economics

Average radio revenue remained steady in 2016 for radio stations in the major news formats, according to Pew Research Center analysis of BIA/Kelsey data. Over the last seven years, the average station revenue for these all-news stations has hovered between $16 and $19 million per year. (It is worth noting that only 20 of the 29 all-news stations currently listed in the BIA/Kelsey database have revenue data during any of these years and thus are the only ones included in the averages.)

Average revenue for stations in all-news, news/talk and news/talk/info formats is substantially lower than all-news – in 2016, $2.4 million per station. This likely stems from the fact that this category represents a much larger number of smaller stations (438 stations in the BIA/Kelsey database in this category have revenue data during any of these years).

  • All-News
  • News/Talk/Info


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