AM/FM Still King—But Challengers are Growing

In part two of our look at State of the News Media Report, we focus on audio
Publish date:

We focus on audio in part two of our look at Pew Research�s annual State of the News Media Report.�

ALEXANDRIA, Va.�Digital media has not killed radio, according to Pew Research�s report, although it has changed how people listen to it.

Data collected from Edison Research indicates that more than half of Americans 12 and older (53 percent) have listened to online radio in the past month, a 12 percent increase since 2013 �and just shy of double the percentage who had done so five years ago. Of those who are listening to online radio, 35 percent have listened on a mobile device.


Of those using a mobile device for online radio, 73 percent are listening through their smartphones, making that not only the mobile device of choice, but the primary avenue for all online radio listeners. Smartphones have jumped desktops in that category, with desktops dropping from 67 percent to 61 percent as a method of listening to online radio.

Image placeholder title

Sirius XM radio, the only satellite radio platform offered in the U.S., has also seen an uptick in its number of subscribers. Since 2013 there has been a 7 percent boost in Sirius XM subscribers, bringing the total to 27.3 million. Sirius also saw an increase in total revenue, earning $4.2 billion in 2014.

AM and FM continue to be the leader of the pack, however. According to Nielsen Media Research data, 91 percent of Americans 12 and older had listened to either AM or FM radio in the week prior to being surveyed. That number has remained relatively static since 2009. As far as revenue, a slight decline in spot advertising and network revenue were largely off-set by gains in digital and off-air advertising, ultimately resulting in a 1 percent dip in revenue from $17.65 billion to $17.51 billion.

Some other key findings from Pew�s report include that News/Talk/Information is the second most popular broadcast format behind Country/New Country. The number of News/Talk/Information stations has also essentially�held steady, but the number of all-news stations has dropped from 37 to 31. Pew Research Center also measured the number of Spotify and Pandora users; Spotify had 60 million, and Pandora had 81.5 million as of 2014.

In part three of our look into Pew Research�s 2015 State of the News Media Report, we will look at Public Broadcasting.

You can see part one, which summarizes the overall findings, here.