Still a Growth Format: Arbitron Points to More Online Radio Gains

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Online radio continues to show significant gains, according to a recent Arbitron study.

In the past year, the weekly online radio audience in the US has grown by one-third, based on a survey of listeners aged 12 and over.

The study, a collaborative effort with Edison Research, estimated that 17 percent of Americans tap into an online station on a weekly basis, up from 13 percent one year ago.  In total, the weekly online radio audience is now estimated at 42 million, a healthy chunk of the American population.

But the traditional dial is still important, and oftentimes connected to its online counterpart.  In the study, 21 percent noted that AM and FM stations have a “big impact” on their lives, just behind the iPod and portable players, which garnered a 23 percent response. Incidentally, 42 percent of survey respondents owned an iPod or similar device, up from 37 percent last year.

That appears to represent a much larger threat to traditional listening.  According to the survey, 14 percent of the respondents noted that their iPods were dragging time away from traditional radio, a figure that balloons within the 12-24 set.  In that group, 32 percent pointed to a substitution effect, nearly double the rate from last year.