Broadcast Radio Declining

More and more listeners are abandoning AM and FM and going to the unregulated realm of Internet and digital sound. Internet radio now has 60 million weekly listeners.

AN UPDATED study by Bridge Ratings pegs Internet radio’s weekly audience at 60 million, with average time spent listening up as well. The study also identifies a trend that other studies have noted recently — that listening to AM/FM radio is declining, but some of that lost listening is moving to listening to AM/FM streaming stations. Since 2005, Bridge Ratings finds that time spent listening to AM/FM radio has dropped from 22 hours per week to 18 hours per week. 50 million people listen weekly to AM/FM streams.

Weekly time spent listening to Internet radio is growing; since 2005 it’s improved 10%. People now listen an average of 11 hours per week to streaming stations (both AM/FM streams and Web-only stations).

The study also finds that listening to audio (AM/FM radio, Internet radio, podcasts, etc.) on mobile devices has grown with people spending an average of 4 hours per week listening to audio content on a mobile phone.

Ever since mass use of MP3 players around 2000 and subsequent with the growth jolt with the release of Apple’s iPod device in 2001, MP3 players have penetrated the American psyche. All age groups find a reason to have one and with an expanding number of device owners, MP3 players are now in the hands of over 280 million consumers and they continue to be heavily used.

The study’s panel spent just over 11 hours a week listening to audio via their MP3 players, up 7% from the 2007 study.

Podcasting, or listening to podcasts, continues to show a small but stable following, with about 30 million people listening weekly to a podcast. Time spent listening is under an hour, and the study notes that longer podcasts have fewer listeners and recommends a “sweet spot” for podcast length of 7 to 12 minutes. Of people who are podcasting, the average user listens to 3 podcasts per week.

Adding up Bridge’s figures, we see that new digital audio media have now overtaken broadcast radio — at 23 hours per week compared to broadcasting’s 18 hours — and the trend is only accelerating. The American Mercury welcomes this trend: It reduces the power of globalist corporations as it empowers the small broadcaster and increases choices for the listener.

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