What accounts for radio’s steady listenership numbers?
According to Arbitron, radio has maintained steady listenership numbers for the last ten years, consistently in the 90 to 95 percent range for listeners over age 12. Radio remains the go-to option for news and information for so many people for several reasons, not the least of which is accessibility.
Radio can reach listeners at home, in their car, or at work, an exposure that no other medium can match. In addition, terrestrial radio is available at no cost to the consumer. According to a 2006 study by the Pew Research Institute, from 2002 to 2005 radio listenership among people over age 12 fell only 5 percent from 98.6 percent to 93.6 percent. This in the face of increased Internet usage and other competing technologies like podcasting.
These audience numbers show that people view radio as the go to source for news and entertainment. But on a more personal level, listeners also come to trust their favorite radio DJs and hosts, and that trust translates into listenership and the development of long-term relationships.