According to Google Analytics, one of our most popular blog posts ever was a piece we posted back in 2016 titled “17 Reasons Why People Listen to AM/FM Radio.” Today, we’re updating that popular post with all-new info from Jacobs Media and Marketing Charts.

Some would say that with so many digital and satellite-delivered choices, from podcasts to streaming music, that the AM and FM buttons on America’s cars are never getting touched. But this report proves that AM/FM radio remains popular with consumers. In fact, 16% of those surveyed said that they are actually listening to AM/FM radio more.

What is keeping listeners hooked to AM/FM radio? The most common reason comes down to America’s love of the automobile, as the most frequently cited reason (71%) is that it’s easiest to listen in the car. After all, virtually every vehicle have a traditional radio that’s relatively easy to use.

Like everything else, digital or otherwise, familiarity and quality of the content makes a difference. Around 6 in 10 listen because of the DJs/hosts/shows (59%) with a similar percentage saying they can hear their favorite songs/artists (57%). Emotional factors are at play too, as 51% say they feel a connection with radio and 44% say that it keeps them company.

One of AM/FM radio’s unique qualities is that it’s local, and listeners love local. The majority (86%) of respondents reported that they either agreed (40%) or strongly agreed (46%) that radio’s local orientation was one of its primary advantages. This sentiment has been rising steadily throughout the years, with 77% of respondents saying they agree/strongly agree in 2016, growing to this year’s 86%.

Smart Speaker ownership has had an effect on AM/FM listening habits, in particular with Gen Z listeners. Nearly one-fifth (19%) of Gen Z respondents reported that they listened to AM/FM radio either a little more (10%) or a lot more (9%) since getting a Smart Speaker. (Note: these results are based on a sample of AM/FM radio listeners, so may not apply to all Smart Speaker owners.)

While Smart Speakers have helped to increase the number of Gen Z listening to traditional radio, they are still listening to the radio more in a vehicle than any other platform, with more than two-thirds (69%) saying all or most of their AM/FM radio listening is done in a vehicle.

About the Data: Source: Jacobs Media, Marketing Charts. Data was gathered from an online survey of 50,652 respondents from 519 radio stations in the US and Canada. 


Bob Abbate Marketing has the experience and creativity to help your brand grow and prosper. We’re fiercely loyal, hard working and passionate. If you don’t look good, we don’t look good. 

Want to know more? We’d love to chat! Just give us your contact info below.

Contact Us