Latest NewsValue of AM radio supported by newly-released U.S. listener data

Value of AM radio supported by newly-released U.S. listener data

AM radio’s value in the car has received a boost of support from newly-released audience data in the U.S., which reveals Ford owners are more likely to listen to AM radio.

Ford is among the automakers that is phasing out AM radio, starting in 2024, including vehicles manufactured for the Canadian market.

Outlined in a blog post from Pierre Bouvard, Chief Insights Officer of the Cumulus Media and Westwood One Audio Active Group, the Nielsen Fall 2022 survey reveals 82,346,800 Americans listen to AM radio monthly with one in three American AM/FM radio listeners reached monthly by AM. Nielsen found 57% of the AM radio audience listens to News/Talk stations.

Citing further data from consumer insights profiler MRI Simmons, Bouvard says Ford owners represent 20% of all U.S. AM radio listeners and are more likely to listen to AM radio. One out of five American AM radio listeners own a Ford vehicle, while 23% own a General Motors vehicle.

Bouvard says, as reflected in Edison’s Share of Ear, AM/FM radio’s actual share (73%) is three times larger than what advertisers perceive (28%) with agencies and advertisers continuing to overestimate the audiences of Pandora and Spotify.

In Canada, Radio On The Move’s Fall 2022 Share of Audio update from Signal Hill Insights and Radio Connects, indicated AM/FM radio continues to be the largest source of audio listening for Canadians at 39%, consistent with Spring 2022. Their latest listening data will be released at next week’s B.C. Association of Broadcasters (BCAB) conference.

Industry has to step up: NAB

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) continues to lobby for AM in the U.S. with its “Depend on AM Radio” campaign. NAB President and CEO Curtis LeGeyt told last week’s NAB Show that the broadcast industry has to step up and remind the public and automakers of radio’s ongoing relevance.

“The facts are, according to Nielsen, 82 million Americans tuned into AM radio at some point over the last month. Those are staggering statistics and that is an audience penetration that any one of the streaming services would bend over backwards to get,” LeGeyt told the audience. “This idea that AM radio has lost relevance, I think shows how focused we are on what may be coming next, and the new shiny object, and maybe a lack of appreciation for what’s going on around us and how our neighbours, our family are still consuming their media.”

“AM radio is fulfilling a role in the Emergency Alerting System that is irreplaceable. For those of us who are walking around with a cell phone, it is easy to say in a time of disaster, ‘well listen, I got an alert on my phone. But what does that alert say? Tune into your local media, and those AM stations serve as the backbone for the emergency alerting that goes through the broadcast system,” he added.

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Connie Thiessen
Connie Thiessen
Connie has worked coast-to-coast as a reporter, editor, anchor and host at CKNW and News 1130 in Vancouver, News 95.7 and CBC in Halifax, and CFCW Edmonton, among other stations. With a passion for music, film and community service, she led News 95.7 to a 2013 Atlantic Journalism Award and regional RTDNA award for Best Radio Newscast. More recently, she was nominated for Music Journalist of the Year at Canadian Music Week 2019. To report a typo or error please email -

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