38 Staggering Radio Listening Statistics (2022)


radio listening statistics

Radio listening statistics can help you make the case for how powerful radio is at engaging consumers. We’ve put together the latest stats that you can use in your presentations and marketing materials. Use them to make your point, or as a jumping-off point for further research.

The radio business is changing and we want to keep you up-to-date. The following statistics about radio listening provide insights into radio’s impact worldwide. Newspapers and radio were once the primary sources of breaking news and other pertinent information. The former has hit a low point, with many experts considering it a dying media. Countless individuals feel radio will suffer the same fate. On the surface, this assumption is logical, considering the number of emerging streaming platforms.

Podcasts are also looking to take the throne and throw radio into the waves of oblivion. Radio is a century-old media and you may think it’s time for something younger and more innovative to step up. However, if it does go, it will leave some pretty big shoes to fill.

Radio has been a companion for many, and people still see it as the perfect form of listening to music. Admittedly, there’s a downtrend in the number of home radios, but you can still find many people enjoying listening to the radio in their cars. Moreover, radio stations have evolved and adapted to new generations’ needs. As a result, you can still find such stations on popular platforms.

Will this form of media vanish with new generations, or will we keep surfing our favorite radio waves? Time will tell. For now, join us as we discover the most exciting radio listening stats.

Contents show

Radio Listening Demographic Statistics

With the development of the digital age, younger generations have several sources of information and entertainment at their disposal. New methods of communicating with a broader audience are emerging, which is only normal.

Will radio be replaced by other popular platforms, or will people remain faithful? Let’s see how popular radio listening is among different generations.

 

1. Radio is listened to weekly by more than 3 billion people around the world.

(deloitte.com)

If you’ve been feeling like the radio is dead and you’re the only one who still listens to it, think again! Radio is actually alive and doing well.

It turns out, more than 3 billion people tune in every week to listen to the radio!

That’s incredible when you think about it—the reach that radio has. It can make you feel like you’re getting to listen in on the whole world’s conversation.

Radio remains a popular medium because it is accessible and versatile. It is a free technology that allows listeners to hear their favorite music or shows without cost, and it does not require any special equipment or training. Even with the rise of streaming services and podcasts, radio remains one of the most widely-used mediums around the world.

Radio has held onto its listeners because, despite the fact that it’s not as customizable as Internet-based platforms, it still offers something that no algorithm can: a connection to other human beings.

Most radio shows are hosted by real people, who have real conversations with their guests. And unlike podcasts or music playlists, which can be consumed while doing another activity, many people listen to their favorite radio shows while driving—making them perfect for unwinding after a long day at work or while completing a commute.

So if you listen to the radio every day (or just once in a while), know that you’re far from alone!

 

2. The typical US radio listener spends about 1 hour 39 min per day listening to the radio.

(statista.com)

Radio remains a pillar of the American media diet, with the average U.S. consumer spending 99 minutes daily on radio content. That’s about 10% of their total time awake. 

What accounts for this ubiquity? Radio has always had an advantage over other forms of media: you can consume it while doing other things. You can listen to it while driving, cooking dinner, getting ready for work, or walking down the street.

In many ways, the invention of the internet and smartphones have only made this easier to do—now you can listen to your favorite station no matter where you are.

 

3. Radio reaches 92% of adults in the U.S. every week.

(nielsen.com)

Radio’s mass appeal has remained consistent over time and represents America’s top reach medium.

Besides being a pioneering electronic medium, radio continues to reach more American adults than any other platform. Every week, radio reaches 92 percent of adults aged 18 and up in the United States.

T.V. comes in second by reaching around 87% of the adult U.S. population. Smartphones follow with 81%, while P.C. has only a 54% reach in the American population.

 

4. At 41%, Radio garners more listening time from US adults than any other source.

(nationalpublicmedia.com)

Many people assume that the internet has left radio in the dust. With so many online options for music, news, and entertainment, plus the popularity of podcasts, it’s easy to think that radio is a thing of the past. But here’s what you need to know: 41% of the listening time of US adults is spent with the radio.

That’s more than any other source—even more than music streaming services, which clock in at 18%, and even more than podcasts, which account for a mere 6% of listening time.

So what is it about listening to the radio? Why do we spend so much more time listening than doing any other type of media consumption? The answer may lie in our other activities. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to read a book while working out at the gym or folding laundry or washing dishes—and yet these are exactly the types of times when many people listen to audio content.

MediumShare of Listening Time
Radio41%
Streaming Audio18%
Owned Music10%
YouTube Music9%
SiriusXM9%
Podcasts6%
TV Music Channels4%
Others3%

 

5. 124 million Americans listened to the radio every week in the first quarter of 2018.

(statista.com)

People use different media to gather relevant information, and radio is still at the top, at least in the United States. That is why 124 million weekly radio listeners in the first quarter of 2018 comes as no surprise. However, the listener’s age span is somewhat unexpected, though.

Many would expect to see the older generation using radio as a source of news. In reality, hundreds of millions of listeners aged 18-49 prefer to enjoy listening to the radio.

 

6. Radio is the medium of choice for 94% of people aged 35-49.

(nielsen.com)

Thanks to digital progress, the Internet has played a significant role in the decline of radio over the past couple of years. Still, radio stations managed to find their way through a crowded multimedia world.

Around 59.6 million or 94% of people aged 35-49 use the radio each month. On the other hand, nearly 114.9 million adults over 50 years of age listen to the radio regularly.

 

7. The number of radio listeners aged 13-34 has grown by 116% growth in 7 years

(nationalpublicmedia.com)

Radio is back in the game. Within the last seven years, the number of people who spend their time listening to radio programs has increased by a staggering 116%.

Whether it’s because of the recent events with the pandemic or something else, people aged 13-34 have started to pay attention to radio programs more.

 

8. 47% believe listening to commercials is a fair exchange for the free content they receive on radio.

(nationalpublicmedia.com)

You know how much we love listening to the radio! Well, it turns out that, nationwide, 47% of people believe that radio stations are worth the commercials they play.

When you think about it, it makes sense: ads are relatively short, and they don’t interrupt songs every two minutes. They’re just a quick break between songs, like one of those TV shows where they have lots of little skits in between the main events, or when you’re watching a sports game and there are all those little interviews with players and coaches during halftime.

But unlike those examples, radio ads don’t take away from the content. They just give you a short break so that you can collect your thoughts between songs.

And what’s more, most of us have had the experience of hearing an ad for something that ended up being exactly what we needed at that moment.

Like when someone says a thing about how much they love their new vacuum cleaner—and then later that week, you accidentally suck up your kid’s homework assignment in your old vacuum and now he’s mad at you! You’ll want to go out and buy yourself a new vacuum ASAP—and thanks to that radio ad, you know exactly which one is the most reliable one on the market right now.

 

9. 46% of listeners considered purchasing something after hearing a commercial on the radio.

(nationalpublicmedia.com)

Radio listeners are also really loyal—they tend to be the same people who will support local businesses in person, too. This means if you advertise on the radio, you’ll not only get lots of calls now but may also see an increase in foot traffic later as well.

There’s something special about radio—it’s personal, it’s fun, it’s entertaining… and lots of people still love it!

 

10. Thursday is the most popular day of the week for radio listening.

(insideradio.com)

If you’re in the radio business, you may have heard this said before: Thursday is the most popular day of the week for listening to the radio. But where’s the proof?

Well, we’ve got it right here.

Radio listener data from Nielsen confirms what radio executives and media buyers have empirically observed, which is that people listen to the radio most on Thursdays. The next most popular radio-listening day is Friday, followed by Wednesday, Tuesday, Monday, Saturday, and Sunday.

The numbers don’t lie: listeners love radio on Thursdays!

Why? Well, it could be because so many people are working on Monday and Friday, or it could be because Friday is a day off for so many people. It could also be that Sunday is more of a day for religious services and football games, which don’t get their programming from the radio.

Moreover, by Thursday, you’re tired of the work week but it’s not quite time to relax yet. Friday is just around the corner, and that means you need some tunes to get you through until then. Even though you can’t just leave work early or start drinking at noon, you can plug into your favorite local radio station and listen to your favorite songs until it’s finally time to go home.

But whatever the reason, Thursday is definitely the most popular day for radio listening!

 

11. By 2025, 18-34 year olds will most likely spend more time listening to the radio than watching TV.

(deloitte.com)

Despite all predictions, younger generations continue to trust the spoken media. TV viewing has significantly dropped among 18-34 year olds.

This might only be a temporary trend, but the fact is that TV viewing among the previously mentioned demographic is declining three times faster than it is with radio.

Consequently, in the future, people aged 18-34 will spend significantly more time listening to the radio than watching television.

 

12. Men account for approximately 55 percent of all listeners to the radio.

(blog.marketenginuity.com)

Radio waves gather people of all ages and with different economic backgrounds. When it comes to gender, around 55% of men spend their time listening to their favorite radio stations.

 

13. Boomers spend more time listening to the radio than any other generation.

(ugartowncommunications.com)

People aged 50-64 spend the most time on their favorite radio waves. Boomers represent the age group with the most hours spent in front of a radio, with a total of 15 hours per week.

 

14. Men between the ages of 45-54 prefer listening to classic rock radio stations.

(allbusiness.com)

Radio stations broadcast different formats, from news and religion to music. People between 45-54 years of age prefer listening to classic rock radio stations.

Think Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, the Doors, and many other evergreens. They really don’t make ‘em like they used to, do they?

 

15. There were 121.5 million radio listeners weekly in September 2021.

(radioink.com)

Since the Internet kicked in, many people have tried to foresee the radio’s future. Still, this industry remained one of the most influential. Despite the predictions, radio maintained a stable audience. In September of 2021 alone, radio reached 121.5 million listeners every week.

 

Radio Listening Statistics: Revenue

The following stats show the critical role of the spoken (and broadcast) word in people’s lives.

Millions of people decide to start their day with their favorite music or other radio programs. On-demand listening of radio programs has grown significantly, and many radio stations record above-average results as a result.

Here are some interesting revenue numbers.

 

16. With $69 million earned, WTOP was the highest-earning radio station in 2019.

(radio.co)

Statistics show most of the highest-earning radio stations come from the U.S. WTOP, a well-known 24/7 radio station from Washington DC, earned a staggering $69 million by the end of 2019. L.A.’s KIIS FM came second, with $61 million in earnings.

They’re heading the pack, which includes:

Radio StationRevenue
WTOP$69 million
KBIG$46 million
WLTW$44 million
WHTZ$42 million
WINS$40.05 million

 

17. US radio broadcasters reached $20.73 billion in revenue in 2020.

(statista.com)

Radio revenue has been steadily increasing between 2005 and 2020. A slight decrease was reported between 2019 and 2020. Regardless, radio broadcasting companies in the U.S. generated $20.73 billion in revenue in 2020.

 

18. The US radio broadcasting industry is expected to gross $23.4 billion in 2022.

(ibisworld.com)

The radio industry’s market size in the United States grew at a slower rate than the overall Information sector. Between 2017 and 2022, the industry grew by 1.1 percent overall. Nonetheless, as measured by revenue, its market size is expected to reach $23.4 billion in 2022.

 

19. Radio ad spending reached $10.01 billion in 2020.

(statista.com)

It is only natural for individuals and businesses to place advertisements on the most influential media. The audio media reach remained on a high level. In 2020, spending on radio ads in the U.S. hit $10.01 billion.

According to experts ‘ predictions, this trend will continue to grow in the foreseeable future. Consequently, spending on radio ads could exceed $11.76 billion by the end of 2024.

 

Lesser-Known Radio Listening Statistics

Despite numerous (pessimistic) forecasts, the radio broadcasting industry has grown steadily. Because of it, a large number of people are able to make a living. Let’s look at some of the most incredible radio broadcasting job statistics.

 

20. 19,000 people lost their jobs in radio broadcasting between 2019-2020.

(statista.com)

The number of employees within the radio broadcasting sector is declining. In 2019, there were 267,000 people employed in U.S. radio broadcasting-related companies. On the other hand, only 248,000 still had jobs through 2020. Consequently, around 19,000 people had to switch jobs.

 

21. Broadcast announcers and radio DJs earned around $57,300 in 2020.

(bls.gov)

People love listening to the radio primarily because of the music. However, many people connect with radio speakers on a much higher level. We only hear their voices, but for most listeners, that’s more than enough to complete the picture.

The average broadcast announcer or disc jockey in charge of people’s favorite music earns $57,300 per year, as per 2020 statistics. Around 27,290 people held such positions the same year.

 

22. Radio broadcasting in New Zealand reached $477 million in 2021.

(ibisworld.com)

New Zealand’s radio broadcast landscape is constantly changing with the development of new technologies. Podcasts and other alternative informative methods have a substantial effect on the country’s radio industry.

Still, radio broadcasts in New Zealand hit a $477 million market share. In addition, there were 181 businesses in total employing 1,950 people.

 

23. Nearly half of all radio listeners in the U.S. fall into the $75,000+ income category.

(insideradio.com)

Radio broadcasts saw a significant drop in the audience in 2020, even though the number of listeners recovered during the following year.

Before the pandemic, people with an annual income of $75,000 and more made up 47% of the total radio listening audience in the U.S. However, things slowly changed at the beginning of 2021. Namely, around 52% of the total audience were people earning over $75,000.

 

24. 23 million people in South Africa listen to the radio every day.

(businesslive.co.za)

Radio is, by far, one of South Africa’s most popular media. In 2021, around 23 million people, on average, reported listening to their favorite radio station every day.

The vast majority of them prefer to relax and listen to the radio from home (80%). On the other hand, around 20% of South Africans stated they prefer to listen to their car radio.

 

25. US radio broadcasting companies spent $19.33 billion on operating costs in 2019.

(statista.com)

Costs to operate the radio broadcasting business are increasing every year. In 2019, broadcasting companies spent $19.33 billion. These expenses included employees’ salaries, facilities, maintenance, legal fees, accounting, utilities, and many other factors.

 

26. 71% of people cited the ability to multitask as the no.1 reason for listening to the radio.

(beyondwords.io)

Various factors affect one’s decision to turn to the radio. Most people (71%) consider listening to their favorite station helps them develop or maintain multitasking habits.

Around 60% said they listen to the radio because it helps them process information more efficiently. Furthermore, more than half of those polled (56%) prefer listening over reading, while 52 percent listen to the radio to stay informed.

 

27.  Spotify had 406 million users in 2021.

(musically.com)

The radio industry witnessed the massive rise of alternative audio platforms within the last decade.

Spotify is just one of many radio counterparts that caught the attention of a broader audience. This audio service allows instant access to millions of songs, videos, and podcasts.

As a result, Spotify reached 406 million users in 2021. What’s more, the platform hit 180 million premium subscribers. The radio broadcast industry is up against a worthy opponent.

 

29. 5.9 million Swiss listen to the radio every day.

(pwc.ch)

The popularity of radio broadcasters in Switzerland remains on a high level. Around 84% of people aged 15 and above listen to the radio every day. In total, this industry reaches about 5.9 million people in this European country.

Radio has a significant influence on the Swiss population. In fact, radio reaches more people than the Internet.

 

30. 19% of audio listening comes from smartphones.

(amplifimedia.com)

When it comes to audio listening, people are spoiled for choice. The majority of listeners continue to rely on traditional AM/FM radio (51 percent). The remainder derives from non-radio sources.

People are increasingly reliant on smartphones, which account for approximately 19% of total audio listening.

 

31. In 2020, 73% of people listened to the radio from their homes.

(trinityaudio.ai)

That might seem like a strange statistic, considering how many car rides most of us take on a daily basis. But it’s actually pretty telling about how our world is changing as we learn to cope with this pandemic and the challenges it’s brought us.

In 2020, a lot of us had been spending more time at home. We’ve all had to reduce our level of social interaction, and that means more time spent at home—with a lot less time spent driving ourselves places and enjoying the freedom of being on the road.

So it makes sense that 73% of people listened to the radio from their homes.

 

32. 59% of radio stations reported an increase in revenues in 2021

(reutersinstitute.politics.ox.ac.uk)

The pandemic has affected many industries. However, internet shopping reported a huge boom. Many people transitioned from traditional to online purchases, and this trend also affected the radio broadcasting economy.

During and after the pandemic, radio stations reported a significant increase in digital advertising. As a result, slightly less than 60% of media owners reported their revenues boomed in 2021.

 

33. The number of Americans subscribed to an audio service jumped to 47% in 2021.

(edisonresearch.com)

A number of events lead to people believing alternative platforms will replace radio as a listening medium.

In 2015, around 1 in 4 U.S. residents subscribed to an audio service. These platforms allow access to various content, including podcasts, shows, music, and more.

This trend continued to rise and reached its peak five years later. In 2021, 47% of Americans subscribed to an audio internet channel.

 

34. 60% of people believe radio advertisements are trustworthy.

(nielsen.com)

People still believe in T.V. and radio. In fact, the latest radio listening statistics show that around 60% of people remained confident in radio commercials’ reliability.

Moreover, radio listeners tend to be highly engaged with the content they hear; they give more attention to it than TV viewers do (who have many more distractions available to them). Because of this, radio listeners are better able to recall advertisements, which can be good for companies that advertise on radio stations.

 

35. Live radio makes up 64% of smart speakers’ content.

(www.gov.uk)

Around 30% of U.K. adults possess smart audio speakers. These devices make up 6% of the total audio consumption on the island. However, live radio accounts for 64% of smart speakers’ content.

 

36. 17% of Denmark residents pay for the news.

(journalism.co.uk)

Scandinavian residents believe information is power, especially people from Denmark, who like to stay updated no matter the cost. Hence, around 17% of the Danish have no problem paying for online news.

Around 19% of Finnish also subscribe to online news, but people from Sweden took this issue more seriously. As much as 27% of Swedes subscribe to internet news. Norwegians, on the other hand, take things to the next level, as almost half of the nation (42%) pays for the news.

 

37. 66% of people aged 55-75 listen to the radio because it’s free.

(deloitte.com)

Since every person is a unique individual, the reasons why someone enjoys listening to the radio are also different.

When observing people between the ages of 55 and 75, individuals state that this medium being entirely free is the top reason why they enjoy it.

Also, at the top of the list of reasons why they enjoy listening to the radio, respondents of the same age added the following:

  • It is easier to listen to in the car: 62%
  • I like to listen to live radio: 55%
  • It’s more convenient: 45%.

Lastly, among the most compelling reasons for preferring radio over other information sources was that people don’t have to download anything (41%).

 

38. More than half of the American population (57%) has listened to a podcast in 2021.

(nationalpublicmedia.com)

Podcasts are arguably a new type of radio. They represent a unique format where you can listen and see the presenters at the same time.

Also, there are different platforms that broadcast podcasts, allowing people to subscribe and enjoy selected content.

In 2021, 57% of United States citizens said they listened to a podcast.

 

Conclusion

It’s hard to deny the power of radio.

Radio has been around longer than most of us can remember. Besides the newspapers, radio was the only source of information for many older generations. With the development of technology, many predicted radio stations to disappear.

Thanks to the emergence of third-party platforms, peoples’ favorite shows, music, and even news are at their fingertips. Thus, many experts expected people to switch to alternatives that offer more personalized content.

Nevertheless, radio reaches more people than any other media, including T.V. and the Internet. As a result, many still believe in this audio format and consider radio trustworthy and reliable. Despite all forecasts, this audio media remains one of the most influential, as you could see from the numbers above.

Now that we’ve gone through all these radio listening statistics, it’s easy to see that radio is still very much relevant today, and more so in some ways than ever before.

And even though people are listening more on their phones, the fact that they continue to tune in on their car radios means there is still a market for compelling, engaging ads that reach listeners on the go.

So don’t be afraid to “go old school” when it comes to attracting new customers—radio can still be one of your greatest assets.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the stats! If there’s anything else you want to know about radio or want us to send you more statistics, just let us know and we’d be happy to oblige.

Happy listening!

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