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Radio’s Share Of Ad-Supported Audio Consistently Strong Across Locations.

Radio advocates have long positioned the medium as the last place to reach consumers before they arrive at the point of purchase. The latest data from Edison Research’s Share of Ear study, reflecting fourth quarter 2021, reinforces that axiom. Nearly two thirds of AM/FM radio listening (63%) takes place away from home while 37% occurs at home. The reverse is true for listening to ad-supported pureplay streaming services: 68% happens at home and 32% occurs away from home.

Westwood One’s analysis of Edison Research’s Q4 202 Share of Ear data shows AM/FM radio’s share of ad-supported audio is consistently strong at work, at home and in the car. In the workplace, broadcast radio captures a 68% share of ad-supported listening. That’s five times as much second place podcasts at 13%. Ad-supported Pandora is third (10%), followed by ad-supported Spotify (5%) and ad-supported SiriusXM (4%).

AM/FM’s share of ad-supported audio at home clocks in at 72%. The home is where podcasts have their biggest piece of the audio pie, accounting for 14% of ad-supported audio.

Radio delivers its largest share of time spent with ad-supported audio in the car, devouring 88% of the pie while all other channels have single digit percentages.

“Folks like to talk about in-car listening as one of the key strong points for AM/FM radio and boy is AM/FM radio the queen of the road,” Pierre Bouvard, Chief Insights Officer of Cumulus Media/Westwood One, says in a video summary of the findings. Tracking broadcast radio’s share of ad-supported in-car audio shows it is stable and strong, hovering around 88% over a five-year time span, although it is down from 93% in 2016.

“If you want to reach people on the path to purchase while they're in their cars while they're shopping, AM/FM really should dominate your media plan to reach those on-the-go consumers,” Bouvard contends.

Ad-supported audio in the car shows very little variance by demographics with AM/FM grabbing percentages in the mid-to upper 80 percent range. “There's very little change by demographic,” Bouvard says. “AM/FM is clearly dominant. Podcasting is growing. It’s starting to show some strength in some of the younger demos in-car but it is still dwarfed by AM/FM radio in the car,” Bouvard adds.

While Westwood One’s analysis of Q4 2021 Share Of Ear data focuses almost exclusively on ad-supported audio, it does provide a peek into how radio performs in the car compared to all audio sources. When both ad-free and ad-supported listening is accounted for, AM/FM radio gets a commanding 59% share, followed by ad-free SiriusXM in a distant second place with 15%. Owned music is third (8%), followed by ad-supported SiriusXM (4%). That means satellite radio gets 19% of in-car listening. Everything else is in the low single digit range.

Edison’s data shows there is a nearly 50-50 split between listening to ad-supported and ad-free audio platforms. Americans spend just over half of their audio time (52%) with ad-supported media and 48% with ad-free platforms. Of that ad-supported half of the audio pie, three-fourths (76%) goes to AM/FM radio.

Download the Cumulus Media-Westwood One Audio Active Group analysis of Edison Research's "Share of Ear” data HERE.

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