Do Americans Spend More Time Listening to AM/FM Radio or Podcasts?

Do Americans Spend More Time Listening to AM/FM Radio or Podcasts?

Edison Research’s latest quarterly “Share of Ear” report surveyed 4,000 Americans to measure daily reach and time spent with all forms of audio. Here are their key findings.

Nearly one out of every five minutes Americans spent listening to ad-supported audio in Q1 was spent listening to podcasts. This earned podcasts a 17% of the total share of ear, more than ad-supported SiriusXM (4%), ad-supported Pandora (4%), and ad-supported Spotify (4%). The winner? With a whopping 4 times the share of podcasting among adults 18 and over, AM/FM radio claims 71% of Americans’ total time spent with ad-supported audio. 


Podcast audiences are still growing, and among adults 25-54, the gap between time spent with AM/FM radio and podcasting is much smaller. Among that age group, broadcast radio’s lead is half as large, with 21% of ad-supported audio time spent with podcasting versus 52% of time spent with AM/FM radio.


“Podcast audiences have exploded,” writes Pierre Bouvard, Chief Insights Officer at Cumulus Media and Westwood One, on Westwood One’s Blog. According to Bouvard, “Prior to 2020, podcast audience growth was gradual. In 2021, podcast audiences went into hyper drive. Podcasts now have an 8.9 share of overall audio and a 17 share of all U.S. ad-supported audio.”

Among 18- to 49-year-olds, podcasts reach 34% of Americans daily, up four-fold since 2016. “Podcasting now has the scale that a lot of marketers said it lacked a few years ago—there is reach to be found in podcasting,” Bouvard said.


Podcasts are growing at an even greater rate among older adults, with adults 45-54 seeing a 633% increase from 2017 to 2022, and adults 55+ seeing more than 500% growth.


“Over the last few years we have seen an explosion of different access points in Podcasting,” said Andrew Nelson, Podcast Buyer at SMI. “With the medium taking up a larger and larger share of listening time, there is a show or network for everyone – meaning advertisers have a wider and more diverse audience to get in front of.”


Are you ready to hear your brand’s message where audio listeners tune into most? Contact SMI to advertise on AM/FM radio or podcasts today.

Looking to Convert New Customers? Choose Audio.

Looking to Convert New Customers? Choose Audio.

In a new Commspoint Influence Study by Nielsen, Audacy looked at audio across radio, streaming audio, and podcasts and evaluated audio’s ability to drive awareness, consideration, and conversion. The results are published in Audacy’s “State of Audio” guide

According to the report, “Audio holds the title as the undisputed leader of brand-building channels—working its magic with the one-two punch of massive reach + beloved personalities. But if you’re thinking of Audio as just a top-of-funnel play—good for sparking a conversation but not driving conversion—think again.”

The study found that audio is “a multi-purpose platform” effective at driving the needle at every point in the funnel, from top to bottom. Survey panelists reported that at the upper funnel (the awareness stage), audio drove 49% to awareness. At mid-funnel (the consideration stage), audio drove 40% to consideration. And at the lower funnel (the conversion stage), audio drove 45% to a trial or purchase. 

Compared to other media channels, radio smashes its lower funnel conversion goals. putting audio way ahead of TV (44%), social media (38%), and video (26%).

Brooke Murray, our Director of Strategic Growth, wasn’t surprised to see the finding. “The impact audio has at bottom of funnel has been long established as a truth through rigorous measurement. Our performance-first clients have been obsessed with measuring ROAS for more than 20 years, with secondary goals of building awareness.”


Are you ready to reach new audiences at every point of their purchasing journey, from top-of-funnel to bottom? Contact SMI today to hear your brand on radio, streaming audio, and podcasts.

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

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

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.

Four Keys to Great Radio and Podcast Ads

Four Keys to Great Radio and Podcast Ads

A new study by Veritonic and Audacy found four key features in radio and podcast ads that maximize purchase intent, recall, and brand favorability. Want to create a winning audio ad? Utilize these “Fab Four” creative elements.

1- Master the music

Ads with music are more memorable than ads without, the study found. Whether on radio or podcast ads, music helps brands stay top of mind and propels listeners toward a purchase. Why is music so effective? According to SMI Copywriter Payne Ratner, “Not only can music underscore and accent aspects of the spoken word, most importantly, it is a short cut to emotions. Music touches the emotions. We have an emotional response to music–and that emotional response to music is associated with a product, so it seats the product more firmly and prominently in our consciousness.”

2 – Sonic branding

According to the study, “Sonic branding is central to how we feel about and identify with brands. A consistent sound logo can reinforce a visual and verbal brand identity and enhance brand recall.” At Strategic Media, Inc., we have been making expert use of taglines and utilizing sonic branding to create a memorable identity for brands for over 20 years. 

According to Ratner, “Sonic branding can be like hooks in songs. They are shortcuts to an emotional response. And when they are incorporated with taglines—which are the verbal equivalent of musical hooks or refrains in a song—like “I’m loving it” for McDonalds, with the little hum—they keep the product alive in the mind and the emotions.”

3 – Find your voice

When casting your audio ad, make sure the voice you choose matches your brand identity, personality, and audience, Vertitonic and Audacy recommend. They found that “the most consistent driver for ad success is having more than one voice, especially in back-and-forth dialogue.”

Are two voices really better than one? For Ratner, there is no easy answer. “Certainly two voices create a drama that spikes a listener’s interest,” Ratner says. “The downside is that often a two-voiced spot can grow stale quickly. It creates a story, but, once you know the ending, the story loses its power to interest the listener.” Ratner also cautions that a two-voiced spot requires the listener to personalize what is being said between the two people. Let’s say two voices are dramatizing the value of a product and one is convincing the other to use that product. “You’ll love it,” she says. The listener must then say, “if that product is good for her, it must be good for me.” This is a subtle shift, says Ratner, “but for a listener who’s driving, negotiating traffic, or dealing with a crying baby, it can require too much mental labor.”

While Ratner says he loves to write two-voiced spots, he’s come to the realization that often a single-voiced spot that directly speaks to a busy listener may have a more potent impact in the long run. 

“Of course, obviously, having just one voice is not in itself the answer,” Ratner cautions. Writing an engaging ad—whether single-voiced or with multiple voices—is an art in itself. 

4 – Message

When it comes to messaging, the study highlighted the importance of mentioning your brand a lot. “Brand mentions drive purchase intent,” the study found. “When ads contain four or more brand mentions, purchase intent rises by 4 percent.” The study also noted that disclaimers offer additional opportunities for brand mentions that can improve purchase intent.

Finally, the study advised rotating between two and four creatives for best results. According to SMI’s Christina Baeten, Director of Client Services, “I’d say that multiple creatives are always recommended for testing to identify the messages that resonate most with your audience, but having too many creatives can work against your brand depending on your brand awareness. There’s absolutely opportunity to tailor your message to your different audience targets, but consistency of message – especially for brands or goods that may not drive immediate engagement – is how you’re going to make sure your brand is front of mind when potential customers have a need that your product or service can fill.”

Want to learn more about creating winning audio ads? Read SMI’s “Top Ten Keys to Creating Great Radio Ads.

Find out how the experts at Strategic Media, Inc. can help you craft a great audio ad that will attract listeners and drive purchase intent. Contact SMI today.

Time Spent with Radio Remains Strong

Time Spent with Radio Remains Strong

Radio reaches 89% of adults 18+, and the average adult spends 7 hours and 40 minutes listening to AM/FM radio per week, according to 2022 Nielsen Scarborough data. Even among heavy TV viewers and heavy internet users, the average weekly time spent with AM/FM remains virtually unchanged, with heavy internet users listening to radio for an average of 7 hours and 28 minutes per week, and heavy TV viewers listening for an average of 7 hours and 53 minutes per week.

“From the adoption of new technologies and platforms, to the lifestyle changes brought on by the pandemic, consumers have ample opportunity to pick up a new favorite media,” Katz Radio Group wrote on its “Sound Answers” blog. “Regardless of where consumers stand on picking up or dropping media habits, data shows that radio is a staple among them all.”

Christina Baeten, Director of Client Services at SMI, agrees. “As long as Americans are spending time in cars, they will be listening to the radio. Radio continues to be the leading choice for in-car entertainment and information. And it’s free. AM/FM Radio is also the only place to access local news and information in the car. Up to date weather, traffic, and sports news relevant to your area that you’d otherwise seek out online when you’re at home, at work, or otherwise not on the road,” Baeten said.

Even light users of TV and the internet consume radio at similar levels to the average adult, with the average light internet user spending 7 hours and 38 minutes with radio and the average light TV viewer spending 7 hours and 17 minutes with radio.

“Radio offers brands new opportunities for engagement with under-engaged media consumers as well,” according to Katz Radio Group. “4 in 10 adults fall into the light user categories for TV and internet, meaning they consume under 3 hours of internet, or 2 hours of TV in a week, and are unlikely to have any meaningful exposure to ad campaigns. Radio fills that gap for brands.”

Are you ready to utilize radio’s vast reach to drive audiences to your brand? Learn more about advertising on broadcast, streaming, or satellite radio and podcasts. Contact SMI today.