Supporting community and hobby radio broadcasters

Covid pushed people away from their car radios

The most recent Share of Ear® study from Edison Research finds that 12% of all AM/FM radio listening is via streaming, while 88% of listening is done to a traditional, over-the-air radio signal.AM/FM radio content in the U.S. is now available through a variety of digital apps and devices, making radio listening possible on computers, smartphones, smart speakers, and through radio station websites, apps, and third party apps.

Although streaming AM/FM content continues to see small amounts of incremental growth each year, and at 12% is the highest measure yet, the largest amount of listening goes to the over-the-air (OTA) signals from devices such as car radios and clock radios.

“There are many outlets for Americans to listen to free broadcast radio, including the smartphones that we know are ubiquitous in our population. To realize growth, radio has to capitalize on its content being available beyond just a traditional radio receiver,” said Laura Ivey, Director of Research at Edison Research.

“We know that the pandemic has shifted U.S. listeners from their cars, where traditional radio is easily available, to their homes, where radio must be accessed on different devices. The challenge is how to convince listeners to follow radio content on different devices – radio not on ‘a radio.’ ”

As a significant share of American workers shifted to at-home employment in 2020, naturally their audio consumption patterns were deeply affected as well. Data from Edison Research’s Share of Ear® survey allows its clients to quantify those shifts and also to predict how things might shift again if and when people go back to commuting to offices and other work locations.

In addition to previous data releases that showed a massive shift in the total share of all audio consumed at home, the latest Share of Ear release shows a clear difference in listening between those working primarily at home vs. those not working from home.

Among employed persons who work from home, nearly three-quarters of their total audio consumption (72%) happens at home. Meanwhile, among those who work away from their homes, only 29% of their listening happens at home. 

Share of Ear subscribers recently received an extensive report detailing all the ways audio has changed in the last year under so many COVID-related disruptions. Included are details on the work-from-home cohort, as well as many insights into how the pandemic changed audio over the last year. 

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