I have always been a loyal radio listener. I have had my favorite stations through the years. Growing up in New Jersey, it was WNEW-FM. When I moved to New Hampshire, WBCN-FM took over as my top stations, and as formats changed (and I grew older), it became WXRV-FM, The River.
But, I must confess, for over 10 years I have been an avid XM Satellite Radio listener. I still listen to the same formats (Classic Vinyl, Deek Tracks and The Spectrum are my go to stations), I just do so without the chatter and commercials. I am just amazed that everyone doesn't subscribe to Satellite Radio! I don't find the $14.99 per month onerous. However, it seems that most people do. According to Pew Research, good ol' AM/FM radio is still the standard.
- 91% of all people aged 12+ in the US listen to AM/FM radio. This is down just slightly from 96% in 2001.
- 236 million people listen to AM/FM terrestrial radio on a daily basis!
- By comparison, SiriusXM has 29 million listeners in the US (up only 3.8% from 2008)
And so, while it has its fans (myself included), Satellite Radio currently is not a big threat to terrestrial radio.
However, Internet Radio may very well be. Internet radio (including on-line stations, Pandora, Spotify and even the SiriusXM has an Internet radio service) is growing rapidly. A study by Edison Research reports that:
- Online radio reaches 94 million listeners weekly.
- In 2003 only 8% of the population listened to online radio.
- In 2014 this jumped to 36% -- A 350% increase in listenership!
While 94 million is only 40% of AM/FM's 236 million, more revealing is the demographics on on-line radio listenership:
- 36% of all adults listen to online radio,but
- 64% of those aged 12-24 listen to online radio
- 37% of adults aged 25-54 listen to online radio
- 13% of older adults aged 55+ listen to online radio
Obviously this will become a situation for terrestrial radio in the not so distant future.
And while most radio listening occurs in the car -- 42%, this is not necessarily going to help AM/FM radio stations.
Cars are beginning to come equiped with Internet connectivity. Yet, even without Internet ready cars, on-line listenership in cars via cell phones is also on the rise.
- In 2010 only 6% of online listeners in cars did so via cell phones
- In 2014 this jumped to 26%
- 43% of persons aged 12-24 listen to online radio in the car through their cell phone
- 27% of adults 25-54 do so, and only
- 10% of older adults 55+ listen to online radio in their car via their cell phone
Radio listenership is changing rapidly and this is not a positive trend for good ol' AM/FM radio.
While video didn't kill radio, online services may very well do it.
For additional reading: http://xappmedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Internet-Radio-Trends-Report-2015_january.pdf