AM/FM Radio's Audience is 3X Larger than Advertisers Think

Pop quiz! Which gets a larger audience share — AM / FM radio or streaming services like Spotify? Many marketers and advertisers presume that Spotify and Pandora have overtaken AM / FM radio in popularity. How far from perception is the reality? Westwood One Audio Active Group provides answers in their analysis of two studies.

Taking the “Me” and “I” Out of “Media”

According to a study by Advertiser Perceptions, media companies and marketers think Spotify and Pandora have a combined 44% audience share and that the AM / FM broadcast audience share is only 28%.

The most recent "Share of Ear" study by Edison Research demonstrates that actual audience share differs significantly from perception. Of ad-supported audio, AM / FM radio has a 74% share among adults, nearly three times higher than what marketers perceive.


Even impartial, data-driven marketers sometimes succumb to the pitfalls of letting their own personal behavior steer their media buys. In this case, they’ll miss large swaths of audio listening. According to the study, AM / FM radio still dominates ad-supported audio in cars with an astounding 89% share. That has stayed steadfast over the past six years. In addition, podcasts gained a larger share of listening, growing from 3.9% in 2019 to 6.7% in Q3 2022 — growth of 72%.

The "Share of Ear" study emphasizes the importance of removing the "me" from media to prevent the mismatch between perception and actuality. The data also shows that AM / FM radio is still the "queen of the road" in the landscape of ad-supported audio in vehicles.

Ready to learn more about tapping into radio's powerful audience? Download our free eBook today! 

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Sources: Cumulus Media | Westwood One Audio Active Group; Advertiser Perceptions, August 2022, 300 advertisers and agencies, perception = total ad-supported Pandora and ad-supported Spotify; Edison Research, “Share of Ear” Q4 2021-Q3 2022, Persons 18+
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