Network radio offers a wide variety of content to American listeners across the country. It includes everything from local news to the latest hit single to content with a national view point. Because of that national appeal, similar to national television programming, the content from the 46 RADAR networks reaches the top designated market areas (DMAs) as well as a wealth of local towns, communities and neighborhoods in small markets across the U.S.
Nielsen’s latest Audio Today report focuses on the geographical reach of network radio listeners across the four major regions of the country (the South, Midwest, East and West) as well as in the top designated market areas (DMAs).
When we look at network radio across the country, the South leads the way both in percent of national population (38%, according to the U.S. Census) and in percent of network radio listeners. This equates to more than 67 million people (aged 12 and older) listening each week.
Moving north, network radio reaches around 41 million listeners in the Midwest and more than 34 million in the East. Interestingly, the proportion of network radio listeners in each region is slightly higher than the percent of the U.S. population living in it. For example, 23% of the national radio audience is in the Midwest, but the Midwest accounts for 21% of the U.S. population. Similarly, 19% of the national radio audience lives in the East, but this region is home to only 18% of the U.S. population.
If we zoom in beyond the four regions of the country and look at the top 100 DMAs, we can see how spread out the reach of network radio really is. For example, almost as many listeners are in DMAs 51-100 as in the entire East region. So what does this tell us? It means that one-third of the network radio audience is located in the top 10 DMA markets alone, which consist of America’s most populated cities. Another third live outside of those cities, in markets ranked 51 through 210—that’s more than 54 million Americans living in our smallest markets who listen to network radio each week.