American Media Services has just released a study which gives us some heartening numbers. According to their poll (1,005 adults, conducted for AMS by Omnitel between March 27 and 29, accurate to within plus or minus 3 percentage points) it not only seems that listenership for Internet radio is increasing rapidly, it also indicates that 73% of internet radio listeners are tuning in the same amount if not more broadcast radio than they used to.
The story was covered by Eric Rhoads’ Radio Ink Magazine:
“Our latest survey shows the continued vibrancy of radio,” says AMS Chairman Edward Seeger. “Online radio is an increasingly important medium. Regular radio is holding its own. The two media offer choices that are compatible and complementary of each other.”
The age of smart phones and commonly available wi-fi is shrinking the digital divide, bringing Internet access to new users daily and doing so in ways that make it easier and easier to listen to radio. Just look at the array of radio applications already available for download on the iPhone, then factor in the debut of the app store for the Blackberry phone and whatever equivalent comes along from Google Android-based handsets.
With the tap of an icon a listener can bring up a huge variety of streaming radio stations. This is a game changer in an age where there are still many who are intimidated by computers.
Even with half the population of the U.S. now having wi-fi in the home, there is still a vast gulf between those who have access and those who do not. For those who do not, radio remains essential. For those who are on the Internet, the options for finding radio wherever they go are increasing rapidly.