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Brian Wright “AM/FM Radio’s Impact”

Over the last 5+ years our focus groups have been telling a far different narrative about radio and its usage in the U.S than is being told my many inside and outside of the industry. The common narrative tells the story of AM/FM radio falling to subpar, secondary or even a tertiary media platform, and losing ground quickly. Many have even said, “Oh, Do people listen to radio anymore?” Or even, “Radio is dead right?” This narrative is so frequently told that many believe it must be true however, the truth, through actual research, is almost exactly the opposite! The vibrancy of AM/FM radio is very strong and emotionally connective and is growing exponentially on streaming devises as well. About 93% of the U.S listened to AM/FM radio in 2022. That’s about 300 million people!  Just recently Edison Research completed a study called “Share of Ear for 2022” that reinforces what WMG has consistently found over the years and they brought great clarity to the true narrative of radio’s impact.    


Here are the key findings: 93% of the 18+ population and 98% of the 50+ population are using radio on a daily and weekly basis. The demo that many say has abandon radio is actually very strong. 87% of the 18-34 year old demo uses radio every week! This 93% tops all other media platforms: Radio=93%  Live & Time-shifted TV=90%  Smartphone=86%  TV connected devises=81%

Streaming now accounts for 17% of AM/FM listening with persons 25-54. This is higher than any other time. The average radio user spends about     1 hour & 41 minutes with radio every day. Adults spend 41% of their listening time with AM/FM. This is more than any other source, including music streaming services that holds 18% of the listener’s ears. AM/FM is even stronger than podcasts that is at 6%.    


Many underestimate AM/FM radio shares and overestimate Pandora and Spotify audiences. The just released 2022 report reveals a gap between perception and reality within the agencies and other media buyers.  











You may have wondered if the pandemic shifted audio usage patterns. Overall, ad-supported shares are remarkably consistent from 2019 ton 2022. AM/FM radio is stable and dominant. Podcasts are up. Pandora is down. For the most part, a very stable trend.












Among 25-54s, AM/FM radio streaming now accounts for 16% of total AM/FM radio listening. The share of total AM/FM radio listening occurring via the stream has doubled in the last five years (8% to 16%).






















Key takeaways:

Agencies and advertisers underestimate AM/FM radio shares and overestimate Pandora and Spotify audiences

2017 versus 2022: Podcasts triple and AM/FM radio streaming doubles in share, beating Pandora two to one

In a typical day, most Americans only listen to AM/FM radio while few listen to Pandora, Spotify, or SiriusXM

Audio shares are pandemic proof revealing little change before, during, and after the pandemic. For political campaigns, AM/FM radio is the best audio platform to reach voters

AM/FM radio streaming hits a record high representing 16% of all AM/FM radio listening

AM/FM radio is the “rule” the road and commuters with a stunning 89% share of ad-supported audio in the car

AM/FM radio’s dominant in-car ad-supported shares have been very steady over the past six years

Radio will get stronger or weaker proportionately to what we put into it. Never in my 40+ years in this profession have I seen a greater opportunity for growth than now. Listener’s want companionship more than ever and they are looking for it through engaging persoanlities that relate to them on a local level. These are things that they can’t get on other platforms!

Brian is a 30 year radio veteran who has successfully served many companies over the years as Program Director, Operations Manger and VP of programming and consultant with Wright Media Group. For the last 15 years Wright has enjoyed building alliances with scores of stations in the US & Canada helping them grow in ratings and revenue.  Contact Brian at brianw6187@aol.com

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