Blog March 2016

Is Radio Really the #2 Widest Reaching Medium in the U.S?

Posted On: March 03, 2016

In previous blog posts, we've reported that as per the latest data, 236 million Americans listen to 13,500 different radio stations. We've told you that radio is the second most powerful medium in the United States, reaching 90% of the population on a weekly basis and 59% on a daily basis.

Well, turns out we were wrong. So just how wide of a reach does radio really have in 2016? According to the latest data, radio has the #1 widest reach of all mediums.

A recent Forbes report found that an incredible 93% of U.S. adults listen to the radio at least once a week, compared to 87% for television. Forbes concluded, "In terms of the American population, this means that 243 million people over the age of 12 are listening to old-fashioned broadcast AM/FM radio every week. It may all come down to the fact that as long as we have cars, we’ll be listening to the radio. And since a time coming when that won’t be the case is unforeseeable, it’s quite clear that radio -- and its tremendous reach -- is here to stay."

In the bizarre world of show business, voice acting and radio commercials might not seem quite as sexy as television or the silver screen. And while new media technologies like the Internet, social media, and apps get all the attention, American businesses underestimate radio at their own peril.

In February 2016, Nielsen's latest data showed that these numbers held steady in Q3 2015, even topping streaming music services like Spotify. Not only that, but Nielsen's latest data shows that radio is one of the most effective mediums for reaching black and Hispanic consumers as well.

Nielsen reported last year that "This growth trend is also evident when examining black and Hispanic audiences-the weekly reach of radio among African-Americans and Hispanics has been growing steadily over the past five years. Since 2011, the weekly national black radio audience has grown 5% (from 29.8 million to 31.3 million) while the Hispanic audience has grown 11% (from 36.5 million to 40.4 million)."

And because radio advertising, voice acting, and audio production usually cost less than video production, these numbers confirm what we've known all along: radio production is often the most cost-effective format for reaching the widest audience.