Radio: the Medium Reaching 92% of Americans Weekly

by | 2 minute read

Have you ever won­dered just how influ­en­tial radio is? Well, accord­ing to Nielsen’s Audio Today 2019 report, 92% of Amer­i­cans lis­ten to the radio every sin­gle week. That’s 272 mil­lion peo­ple over the age of six; a larg­er, stead­ier num­ber than TV, mobile, or dig­i­tal.


That per­cent­age gets high­er when you zero in on age groups with buy­ing pow­er. Nielsen says that radio reach­es 96% of adults ages 18 to 34 and 99% of 25- to 54-year-olds on a month­ly basis. Over­all, 98% of U.S. adults lis­ten to the radio month­ly.

When and Where?

Radio reach­es more peo­ple dur­ing the week than on week­ends. Prime radio lis­ten­ing time for U.S. adults is between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., Mon­day through Fri­day. Why’s that? You prob­a­bly guessed it: The major­i­ty of radio con­sump­tion is done out-of-home. Dur­ing a typ­i­cal week­day work­day, 73% of radio lis­ten­ing hap­pens when the lis­ten­er is away from home, and 63% of that out-of-home lis­ten­ing occurs in the car. Anoth­er 35% of out-of-home lis­ten­ing takes place at work. Com­par­a­tive­ly, 64% of week­end radio con­sump­tion occurs out-of-home and almost all of it (79%) hap­pens while dri­ving.

Favorite Stations

As expect­ed, most radio lis­ten­ers have favorite radio sta­tions that are network-affiliated. These sta­tions reach more than 90% of Amer­i­cans in all age groups on a week­ly basis. What kind of sta­tions are these? The top sta­tion type among Amer­i­cans over the age of 12 is coun­try. It’s the pre­ferred sta­tion type of U.S. adults in gen­er­al, both men and women. How­ev­er, when bro­ken out by eth­nic or racial groups, His­pan­ics pre­fer Mex­i­can region­al sta­tions and African Amer­i­cans tune in to urban adult con­tem­po­rary the most.

Round out your radio ad pitch to your clients with infor­ma­tion from Audi­enceS­CAN on AdMall by Sales­Fu­el. There, you’ll find 16 dif­fer­ent radio-based audi­ence pro­files, detail­ing demo­graph­ic infor­ma­tion, pur­chase intent, and research on the most effec­tive adver­tis­ing meth­ods for each.

Rachel Cagle

Rachel Cagle

Rachel is a Research Ana­lyst, spe­cial­iz­ing in audi­ence intel­li­gence, at Sales­Fu­el. She also helps to main­tain the major accounts and co-op intel­li­gence data­bas­es. As the hold­er of a Bach­e­lors degree in Eng­lish from The Ohio State Uni­ver­si­ty, Rachel helps the rest of the Sales­Fu­el team with their writ­ing needs.