Americans Are Consuming More Radio Than Ever

SiriusXM in-dash radioThere may not be as much money in radio as there once was, but the evidence mounts that people in the U.S. are consuming more of it than ever before. Better still, the trend shows no sign of slowing down.

According to data from Edison Research, the percentage of Americans 12 years of age or older who have listened to online radio in the past month rose again from 53% in 2015 to 57%. What’s interesting here is that’s about twice as many as in 2010. 73% of these listened on smartphones, while 61% listened on desktops and laptops.

At one time there were questions as to whether satellite radio would actually survive. Now there’s no doubt. Sirius XM reported an increase in subscribers in 2015 to 29.6 million, up from 27.3 million in 2014. Web-based radio listening in cars held about steady, revealing a slowdown from the growth of the past several years. As of January 2016, 37% of U.S. adult cellphone owners have listened to online radio in the car. That is just slightly more than the 35% who did so in January 2015, but about six times the share (6%) who had done so in 2010.

What’s even more surprising is that traditional AM/FM terrestrial radio is listened to as much as ever – 91% of Americans ages 12 and older, according to Nielsen’s RADAR study. That said, AM/FM’s revenue from advertising declined 3%, while revenue from digital and off-air advertising both posted gains – 5% and 11% respectively.

Many analysts (including this one) have predicted that radio’s influence (especially AM) would come to a grinding halt in the U.S. While I still believe that will happen, none of the data shows that to be happening yet. That said, just listen to the number of free public service announcements on most channels except for the the leaders in each market, and you’ll see that the landscape is indeed changing – the data just doesn’t show it yet.

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