While most people know what an MP3 does on their player, they may not know that an MP3 is an audio encoding format for digital audio designed to greatly reduce the amount of data required to reproduce a faithful audio reproduction. In short, good sound quality in a small package. In fact, its size is largely the reason for its popularity, because when MP3s were launched in 1994, they could more easily be shared on peer-to-peer networks than other file formats.
Size also seems to be the driving force behind widespread MP3 use in the radio industry. Our recent survey of 25 radio networks and stations in the top-30 media markets revealed that MP3s are the most favored audio format for production with 68 percent of respondents preferring them over .wav or real audio. Despite the introduction of new, higher-fidelity audio formats like aiff, the MP3 is still the most widely used among radio producers largely because of its portable size. Until another format comes along that rivals the sound quality and is even smaller, the MP3 is here to stay.