So, Just How Much Radio Consumption Was Tied To Streaming?


We’ve heard the stories that audio streaming of AM and FM radio stations substantially increased during the height of the COVID-19 fueled shelter-at-home restrictions. But, to what extent did streaming impact, in a positive way, consumption of broadcast radio?

The latest Edison Research “Share of Ear” report for May 2020 has an interesting answer.

Amidst the disruptions caused by COVID-19, streaming hit double digits for the first time.

Indeed, 10% of AM/FM radio listening came from streams, with 90% of listening coming from a “traditional” radio receiver. 

The average for 2020 in total so far is 9% of listening to AM/FM audio sources coming from the streams. 

The graph above shows the slow but consistent adoption of streaming as a percentage of all listening to radio station content.   

“Adoption of radio station streams continues to be slow,” said Laura Ivey, Director of Research at Edison Research.  “While it remains an area of opportunity for broadcasters, to date most people in the U.S. listen over the air when they are listening to AM/FM radio content.” Share of Ear clients can learn, among many other things, how radio fares on specific digital devices, such as smartphones, computers, internet-connected TVs, and smart speakers.   

Ivey continued, “The statistics here represent the combination of music and spoken-word listening. Our research shows listening via streaming is higher for spoken-word radio stations such as news, public radio, talk and sports, while listening via streaming is lower for music radio stations.”