Radio reaches 10% stream listening during COVID

Edison Research sent out a note from its Share of Ear subscription study, to mark a milestone for broadcast radio. In a May update, Edison found that 10% of radio listening in the U.S. was streamed, against 90% from an over-the-air receiver.

Edison has been tracking this metric since 2014 (see graphic below). During that time stream listening has gradually increased. It seems natural that the 10% benchmark would be reached during a stay-at-home quarantine period for the nation, during which radio listening would naturally shift from in-car (where radio receivers are universally present) to in-home (where radio receivers are gradually disappearing).


“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. 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,” said Ivey, “while listening via streaming is lower for music radio stations.” 


Brad Hill