The proof of any radio station's popularity and advertising might is its daily listening audience, and that audience remains consistent and dominant over other audio platforms, based on the findings of Edison Research's fourth quarter 2021 “Share of Ear” report.
According to Edison's measure of daily reach and time spent for all forms of audio based on its survey of 4,000 Americans, representing a one-year rolling average, persons 18+ spend an average of one hour and 37 minutes with AM/FM radio daily. That's far ahead of daily minutes listening to digital audio services, with the average daily minutes for Spotify and Pandora – whether ad-supported or ad-free/subscription-based – at 16 and nine minutes, respectively.
Since the pandemic, AM/FM's daily reach has not only remained stable – with 63% to 66% of persons 18+ listening daily in each measurement since third-quarter of 2020 – its 65% reach for Q4 2021 is the highest since Q3 2020. Compared to other free ad-supported audio, AM/FM's daily reach is eight times that of Pandora and 21 times that of Spotify.
“Pandora pioneered something really interesting with their free ad-based streaming music service... [but now] the early adopters are moving to on-demand, and mainstream America is still in love with AM/FM radio,” FBR Capital Markets Analyst Barton Crockett says.
A major part of AM/FM's daily listening audience is of course the captive in-car commuter. While Edison reports in-car share for AM/FM at a commanding 59%, it also cites U.S. Census Bureau figures showing 85% of U.S. commuters do so in a car or truck, with 89% of car commuters driving alone. Additionally, in each of the top 10 major markets, most commute by car or truck, even in New York City.