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Ford Misstepping in AM Radio Removal, New Research Shows

MRI Simmons’ Winter 2023 report indicates that Ford owners represent 20% of all U.S. radio listeners.

Maddy Troy

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Recent research data from Nielsen and MRI Simmons suggests that major automakers, including Ford, may be making a mistake by removing AM radio from new vehicles.

Nielsen’s Fall 2022 survey shows, AM radio reaches 82.3 million Americans monthly, making up one-third of U.S. AM/FM radio listeners. Westwood One’s analysis reveals that 57% of this audience, equivalent to 46.9 million people, tune in to news/talk-formatted stations. This is significant as these stations are often relied upon for crisis coverage and local news updates, notes Pierre Bouvard, Chief Insights Officer of Cumulus Media/Westwood One Audio Active Group.

Consumer insights company MRI Simmons’ Winter 2023 report indicates that Ford owners represent 20% of all U.S. AM radio listeners, compared to 23% for General Motors. Owners of Ford’s popular models, such as the Ford Ranger pickup and Ford Edge SUV, show a higher likelihood (18% and 12% respectively) of being AM radio listeners compared to the U.S. average. Bouvard comments, “It seems like Ford and AM radio are really velcroed at the hip and have a lot in common.”

Edison Research’s “Share of Ear” study reveals that AM/FM radio’s share of ad-supported audio among individuals aged 18 and above has remained steady at 88% since 2019. In contrast, other competitors in the Q1-Q4 2022 period, such as podcasts, ad-supported SiriusXM, Pandora, and Spotify, respectively hold only 6%, 4%, 2%, and 0.6% of the market share.

“AM stations serve very unique, targeted constituencies and represent many languages and voices,” Bouvard says. “As automobile manufacturers consider eliminating AM radio, it’s important to underscore that the AM dial is one of the most diverse media platforms in the world. Why would we eliminate this variety from the car?”

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Media Business

Curtis LeGeyt: NAB ‘Depend on AM’ Radio Campaign ‘Played Crucial Role’ in Support for Congressional Bill

“We are making significant progress, but our work is far from over.”

Barrett News Media

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A photo of Curtis LeGeyt
(Photo: Jay Mallin NAB)

The AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act continues to wait to be voted on by both houses of Congress. NAB President/CEO Curtis LeGeyt believes an initiative from the organization played a paramount role in garnering support for the legislation.

In a story authored by the executive for Radio Ink, he made the case that the “Depend on AM” campaign released by the organization was pivotal for Congressional support for the industry.

“The NAB’s Depend on AM campaign has played a crucial role in rallying this support. We’ve emphasized the importance of AM radio not just as a cultural, news and sports hub, but also as the resilient lifeline during emergencies, offering unmatched reach and reliability,” LeGeyt wrote. “This legislation ensures that AM radio remains accessible to all Americans, especially during public safety crises. We are making significant progress, but our work is far from over.”

Curtis LeGeyt claimed more than 250 members of the House of Representatives and 62 Senators have backed the bill that would require automakers to include AM radios in new and electric vehicle models or require manufacturers to inform customers the new model was not equipped with the band.

The NAB has been a vocal proponent of the bill’s passage, with LeGeyt testifying in front of Congress in support of the legislation.

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Media Business

Local News Becoming Less Prevalent on Radio, New RTDNA Study Shows

68.4% of locally-owned operations air local news updates, while 54.1% of non-locally owned outlets do the same.

Barrett News Media

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RTDNA logo

Local news has been a focal point for radio stations for decades. But that may be fading away, a new RTDNA study shows.

65% of commercial stations still air local news in 2024, down slightly from 66.2% in 2023. Non-commercial stations have dropped 12% points in the past two years, down to just 60.7% airing local news.

However, the disconnect appears to come from locally owned stations versus non-locally owned. 68.4% of locally-owned operations air local news updates, while 54.1% of non-locally owned outlets do the same.

Not only are there drops in the number of stations broadcasting local news, but the airtime those updates occupy has also shrunk, according to the RTDNA study.

“The biggest drop in average minutes came in large markets, suggesting that fewer all news or news/talk stations there filled out the Survey this year,” the study states. “Medium markets are down a bit; small markets dropped an average of over 20 minutes per weekday.”

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Media Business

YouTube Largest Podcast Discovery Platform By Wide Margin, Westwood One Study Shows

Not only is the Google-owned video platform the most used among podcast newcomers, but it also holds that distinction for heavy podcast consumers and longtime podcast listeners.

Barrett News Media

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A photo of the YouTube logo displayed on a phone

In the span of three years, YouTube has gone from the third most popular podcast discovery platform to the top spot, a Westwood One study suggests.

In a study of more than 600 weekly podcast listeners, 31% say YouTube is the most utilized podcast listening platform. 21% say they use Spotify most frequently, while 12% claimed Apple Podcasts was their go-to destination.

Not only is the Google-owned video platform the most used among podcast newcomers, but it also holds that distinction for heavy podcast consumers and longtime podcast listeners.

YouTube’s podcast listening profile is slightly more male-dominated and also younger than the typical Apple Podcasts audience, according to the results from Westwood One Audio Active Group.

Naturally, the majority of Apple and Spotify users utilize smartphones to access their favorite podcasts, while 38% of YouTube’s audience uses computers and televisions for their favorite shows.

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