While we’re living in the digital era, there’s no sign that radio will be gone soon. In fact, it remains to be one of the most resilient mediums. Even with the emergence of alternatives, radio is still popular, not just in the US, but also in other countries.
So, how many radio stations are there in the US? There are 15,455 commercial radio stations in the US and 2,500 non-commercial ones.
Whether it is stations that cover the Super Bowl or those that provide morning traffic news, the options are plenty. In this section, we’ll look at the most important numbers you need to know based on the available online data.
Table of Contents
Number of Radio Stations in the US
1. Commercial and Non-Commercial Stations
The majority of radio stations in the world and in the US are commercial. The money in commercial radio comes from ads. They need to attract a large audience because popularity is directly proportional to ad placements.
On the other hand, non-commercial stations do not play ads. Most of these stations are operated by small groups, including students and volunteers.
In America, there are at least 15,445 commercial radio stations. Meanwhile, there are approximately 2,500 non-commercial radio stations in the country. This number is inclusive of school, community, and religious radio stations.
As you can see, the percentage of all commercial radio stations in the US is way higher than its non-commercial counterpart.
2. From Then to Now
The introduction of radio in the United States for commercial purposes happened much later than the invention of the device. It coincided with the golden age of radio, which was in the 1920s.
Looking at the picture below, it can be seen that radio grew throughout the years, but not at an exponential scale. There were 10,830 stations in 1990, and by 2020, there were 15,445 stations in the country.
3. Compared to Other Countries
There are approximately 43,773 world radio networks or stations. Meanwhile, here’s a quick rundown of the average total radio stations in select countries.
- Australia: 608
- Brazil: 1,822
- Canada: 833
- Philippines: 1,013
- Poland: 792
- South Africa: 362
- United Kingdom: 653
The Formats and Programs of Radio Stations in the US
News/talk is the most listened to and leading format among radio stations across all age groups. This shows that radio is one of the main sources of information in the country. Nonetheless, despite the high listenership, it isn’t on top in terms of the radio number of stations.
Meanwhile, the second spot is for adult contemporary channels, while country music is in the third spot. Now, you’re probably curious, how many country stations are there? As you can see in the table below, music seems to have the most radio stations.
|News Talk Information||1315|
|Hot Adult Contemporary||469|
|Pop Contemporary Hit Radio||464|
List of Radio Stations in the USA (By State)
Here’s a quick rundown of the number of radio stations in the country by state.
The Future of Radio Stations in the US
They say the radio is dying, but is it? Well, it does not seem to be. In fact, radio is believed to be a resilient medium.
When MTV came out, the song Video Killed the Radio Star became popular. Even so, it looks like radio survived TVs. In addition, it also remains a force to reckon with despite the emergence of different devices in the past, such as the Walkman.
As such, you might be wondering about the future of FM radio in USA. One thing that can happen is that digital signals may replace analog signals entirely, allowing more channels to stream on one frequency and reach more people.
More so, FM may surge further in popularity over AM. One reason for this is the removal of AM radio in electric cars. This is because of electromagnetic interference that affects AM audio quality, a problem that FM radio is more immune to.
It’s also crucial to highlight that by 2026, it is expected that radio will have a Compound Annual Growth Rate or CAGR of up to .71%. Currently, radio represents a $20.9 billion industry in the country.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the most popular radio station in the US?
WTOP or Washington Top News stands out among the other radio station names in the country. In 2021, it has an estimated revenue of $70 million. It has been operating since 1926, although the station had a different call letter back then.
Who owns most radio stations in the US?
iHeartMedia has the most radio stations in the country. It has 865 stations in 165 markets. In contrast, the second biggest owner is Cumulus Media, which only has 407 stations.
What state has the most radio stations?
Texas has the most radio stations in the US. It has 944 radio stations while California is second on the list with 868 stations. On the third spot is Florida, which has 590.
In this short guide, we talked about how many radio stations are there in the US. Turns out, there are thousands, and with the discussion about the radio’s future, it seems like there’s no slowing down for this medium. We expect to see an increase in radio stations number because of the anticipated developments.
Hi, I am Amaro Frank – the Wind Up Radio’s content editor and writer. Working with Adam is so much fun, as his stories and experiences enrich my knowledge about radio communications and radio accessories. My main tasks in Wind Up Radio are building content and generating great articles on different topics around radio accessories.