AM/FM Radio Audience Overtakes TV for the 1st Time in Media History

Written By

Liz Iversen

Published On

Thursday, Mar 23
Grey boombox on a table with a yellow background.

Nielsen’s latest annual Total Audience Report, which measures weekly media audiences, has revealed a surprising finding. For the first time ever, AM/FM radio listenership has beaten TV viewership among persons 18-49 years old.

In 2019, Duncan Stewart, Director of Research, Technology, Media & Telecommunications at Deloitte, predicted that Radio would beat TV among 18- to 34-year-olds by 2025. His prediction came true in 2021, four years earlier than expected. According to Nielsen’s Q3 2022 Total Audience Report, AM/FM’s audience of persons 18-49 is now +3% greater than television’s.


AM/FM radio’s vast reach is largely responsible for this shift. AM/FM radio reaches 83% of persons 18-49 each week, while television reaches only 59%. That means that each week, 41% of people in the U.S. aged 18-49 are not reached by live or time-shifted TV.

Television’s reach among persons 18-49 has dropped -28% since 2018, and viewers’ time spent with TV has dropped -56%. Compared to 2018, viewers in 2022 watched television for an hour and a half less per day.

The report also found that adding radio advertising to a media budget can make a television advertiser’s campaign more effective. A case study on Westwood One’s blog reported that J&J’s pharma brand Tremfya saw a +45% increase in reach among persons 25-54 by adding AM/FM radio to the media plan. 


We find that many podcast advertisers can profitably build their business by adding AM/FM radio’s massive reach to their marketing plan. Contact SMI today for more details.

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