Online Radio Gels Well With Social Networking, Report

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Online radio audiences increased again last year in the United States, according to estimates jointly released Tuesday by Arbitron and Edison Media Research.

The group estimated that 33 million Americans dial into online radio stations every week, up from 29 million last year.  That trend corresponds with increased hours online, as well as the growth of social networking destinations.  The report targeted Americans above the age of 12.

The correlation between online radio listening and social networking is especially strong.  The report estimated that 25 percent of users have social networking profiles, but among internet radio listeners, the ratio rises to 63 percent.

Part of the reason for the lift is that online radio is a multitasking-friendly format.  That allows users to tune in while reaching out.  “Social networking is clearly not about creating exclusive, self-enclosed communities,” said Diane Williams, senior analyst of Custom Research for Arbitron.  The most heavily used networking destinations among radio listeners are MySpace and Linked-In, according to the researchers.

Story by news analyst Alexandra Osorio.