- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Even in the age of sophisticated cable TV and video on demand, it is old school AM/FM radio which rules the nation’s media world according to Nielsen, which has revealed the audience numbers.

With 243 million monthly listeners, radio bests the competition across the board.

“Each week, more Americans tune to AM/FM radio than any other platform. What’s more, according to Nielsen’s second-quarter 2017 Comparable Metrics Report, 93 percent of U.S. adults 18 and older listen to radio every week — more than those watching television or using a smartphone, TV connected device, tablet or PC,” Nielsen noted in its report, which was released Wednesday.

In comparison, TV reaches 88 percent of Americans and garners 229 million viewers.

“Technology trends are a bit like fashion trends,” said Brad Kelly, managing director of Nielsen Audio. “They come and go, oftentimes long forgotten after the craze ends. But there’s one notable exception to the technology/fashion trend rule in the media world — broadcast radio. AM/FM radio is the blue blazer of the media universe. Who would have believed 100 years after its debut, AM/FM radio would continue to top the charts as the medium that reaches more consumers each week than any other?”

The analysis cited “compelling audio content and expanding delivery options” as a strong factor in the consistent appeal of radio.

It also found that the most popular format was country music, closely followed by news/talk combinations, adult contemporary music, pop contemporary hits, classic rock, classic hits, “hot” adult contemporary, urban adult contemporary and non-commercial news and talk. These are the top draws in a lengthy list of genres.

The report also said the popularity of podcasts has increased by 157 percent in the past four years; 30 million people now regularly download the specialized audio presentations to their smartphones or other devices.

The appeal of radio is also something the generations can agree on.

“AM/FM radio is America’s top reach medium, giving it mass appeal among diverse audiences — across generations, ethnicities and demographics,” the report said. “By generation, radio has the largest reach with Generation X (ages 35-54), with 80.5 million listeners tuning during an average month.

“This is followed by millennials (18- to 34-year-olds), with 71.6 million listeners tuning in monthly (95 percent of the millennial population),” the report said. “Meanwhile, radio reaches 41.2 million monthly listeners among Baby Boomers (ages 55-64), representing 98 percent of the Baby Boomer population.”

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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