Most radio stations in the U.S. now can be heard online via a ‘stream’ in addition to over the air. Edison Research has been measuring the development of radio listening’s transition to the streaming environment ever since it began the Share of Ear® reports in 2014.
In the latest Share of Ear update done in May 2020, and amidst the disruptions caused by COVID-19, streaming hit double digits for the first time with 10% of AM/FM radio listening coming from streams versus 90% of listening on a traditional radio receiver. The average for 2020 in total so far is 9% of listening to AM/FM audio sources coming from the streams.
The graph above shows the slow but consistent adoption of streaming as a percentage of all listening to radio station content.
“Adoption of radio station streams continues to be slow,” said Laura Ivey, Director of Research at Edison Research. “While it remains an area of opportunity for broadcasters, to date most people in the U.S. listen over the air when they are listening to AM/FM radio content.” Share of Ear clients can learn, among many other things, how radio fares on specific digital devices, such as smartphones, computers, internet-connected TVs, and smart speakers.
“The statistics here represent the combination of music and spoken-word listening. Our research shows listening via streaming is higher for spoken-word radio stations such as news, public radio, talk and sports,” said Ivey, “while listening via streaming is lower for music radio stations.”