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How Many People Listen to the Radio? Get Facts Here!

Writen by Edwin Jones

Fact checked by Andrew Wright

how many people listen to the radio

You might have heard some people saying that the radio is dead. While it’s true that we’re in a digital age when smartphones dominate the game, this does not mean that the radio era is far gone. As such, you might be wondering—how many people listen to the radio?

In this post, we’ll talk about the most important radio listenership statistics you need to know. Such can provide insight into radio popularity, even with the presence of other alternatives.

So, let’s dive in and uncover radio listenership!

The Most Important Radio Statistics to Know


If you’re looking for interesting radio information, this is for you. Let’s discuss numbers, and you’ll discover that people still listen to the radio.

1. Listeners on Terrestrial Radio


To start, let’s talk about the trend in weekly listenership. 8 out of 10 Americans 12 years old and above listen to terrestrial radio in a week. This constitutes roughly 83% of the total population. Note, however, this is based on 2020 data.

83% might seem huge, but there is a clear radio listenership decline, as the figures in the previous years were 89% or higher. For example, in 2015, the percentage of Americans listening to the radio was as high as 91%.

So, how many people exactly are listening to the radio? If you’re looking for exact numbers, in 2020, the American population was 329.5 million people, which put the number of citizens listening to the radio around 273.5 million.

More so, while it’s old data, it is also a good idea to look at a report by Deloitte in 2019. In the said report, it was estimated that radio had approximately 3 billion listeners weekly around the world.

2. Ways to Listen to the Radio


There are different ways to listen to the radio, and one of the most popular is via podcast listenership.

As you can see in the chart below, the trend is increasing. Experts expect podcast listenership to grow up to 464.7 million by 2023—a drastic increase compared to 424.2 million in 2022 and 274.8 million in 2019.

Meanwhile, another report highlights valuable statistics about public radio podcast users. In 2020, there were 14 million users of National Public Radio podcasts. This was up by 11.3 million compared to the numbers in 2019. Public Radio Exchange, another popular source of podcasts, reported 8 million users in 2020.

3. Weekly Media Reach


When MTV was first launched, the first song it played on TV was “Video Killed The Radio Star” by The Buggles. Hence, many may assume that such is indeed the case. Interestingly, looking at the data, it isn’t necessarily true.

According to a 2022 report by MRI-Simmons Spring Connect, radio had an average adult reach of 91% (with 53% being via Internet radio) in the United States. It’s followed by live and time-shifted TV with 76% of reach and social media with 70% of reach.

4. Weekly Listeners by Age


Now, let’s look at radio demographics. This is important because it can provide businesses and marketers with insights on who they can reach in case they choose to advertise on the radio.

As you can see from the chart below, radio reaches 92% of people who are 50 to 64 years old. On the other hand, it has a weekly reach of only 84% for people 18 to 34 years old.

From here, we can see what age group listens to the radio most, and that is 50 to 64. Although, listeners between 35 and 49 years old are not far behind.

5. Top Radio Formats


Now, let’s talk about the top three formats available. Based on a report from Nielsen, until June 2022, Country took the crown among listeners 18 years old and above. It occupied the top spot of the most popular radio formats, with a share of about 13%.

Meanwhile, News and Talk had a 12.7% share, so it wasn’t a far second place. On the third spot was Adult Contemporary, which had a share of 8.6%.

Meanwhile, a report from Statista has a slightly different finding. Based on a survey that included 5,176 listeners from January to December 2022, here are the top genres.

Further, if you’re curious about music demographics age, then you should know that most teens are listening to pop contemporary radio while most adults are listening to country music.

6. Radio Compared to Other Audio Sources


Another important thing to look at is how radio compares to other audio sources. By others, we’re talking about podcasts and streaming platforms.

As you can see below, radio is a dominant force in the audio universe. It is the preferred medium of most people, reaching 93% of listeners 18 years older and above. At the second spot includes alternatives like streaming services, satellites, etc.

Therefore, if you’re comparing podcast vs radio statistics, radio wins.

7. Radio Revenue


Since we’re already talking about important radio industry statistics, let’s also briefly discuss the revenues. These numbers will give you an idea of how relevant radio is even in today’s modern times.

By the end of 2023, experts are projecting that the revenues in radio will reach $35.33 billion. Despite this, there is a small expected decline of .18% in the annual growth rate. Hence, the revenue by 2027 could be $35.17 billion.

The Importance of Radio


As we continue to discuss interesting facts about radio, let’s also delve into its importance, especially in a time when more modern alternatives are already available and accessible.

  • Its ability to reach a wide group of listeners is one of the most significant things that make radio important today. Because of its cost-effectiveness, many people can listen to the radio, especially those in poor areas.
  • In addition, radio is also significant because it’s immediate. This is the go-to source for most people who are looking for instant information. You can hear the news in real-time.
  • Speaking of being immediate, radio can also be life-saving. For instance, they are available in battery-powered models that can provide critical information during calamities and rescue operations.
  • More so, radio is important because it’s a platform not just for information but also for entertainment and education. As such, it has been a part of the daily lives of many people, as proven by the impressive radio listenership over time.

Radio Industry Trends


Among others, one of the ongoing trends is going digital. To avoid a decline in radio listeners, stations must know how to adapt to changing times. And one way by which such is possible is by changing how they present content to the public.

The key here is to create cross-platform content. This means that there should be more ways to access radio programs.

More so, artificial intelligence can be a potential driver of growth. Futuri recently introduced RadioGPT, which is a revolutionary technology that can provide localized content in formats suitable for a specific audience. It uses the GPT-3 technology to create on-air scripts, and another technology will translate them into voice content.

Frequently Asked Questions 


What is the most listened radio station in USA?

The most popular radio station in the US is WKBC-AM from North Wilkesboro, North Carolina. One report notes that it has a total visits of 18 billion.

How many people listen to podcasts?

464.7 million people listen to podcasts globally. Meanwhile, in 2024, the number is expected to increase by as much as 504.9 million people.


So, how many people listen to the radio? A lot, as noted above. Globally, it could be as many as 3 billion people! From cars to homes, radio remains to be a popular medium and is proving to be far from being dead.

Do you still listen to the radio? If so, what’s your favorite format and station? Let us know what you think in the comment below.

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