Traditional AM/FM Radio Is Growing During COVID-19 Quarantines

Old school AM/FM radio (photo: Eric Nopanen)

photo: Eric Nopanen

With government-issued stay-at-home orders and non-essential business closures continuing to affect schedules across the United States and the world, many are turning from music streaming services to video platforms like Netflix and Hulu. However, a newly-published study found that AM/FM radio, for its part, is growing amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In conducting the study, Triton Digital reviewed data from the over 3,200 radio stations that utilize its Webcast Metrics technology, which records broadcasters’ streaming statistics.

Compared to the prior month’s average listener count, overall streaming of U.S. radio stations hiked by roughly three percent during the week ending on Saturday, March 21st, according to Triton Digital. Equally as noteworthy, smart speaker radio streaming jumped by four percent, while mobile device radio streaming enjoyed a six percent boost, despite a substantial portion of the population remaining at home.

Several weeks back, we first reported that music streaming services were experiencing a significant downturn during the COVID-19 crisis, presumably because of disruptions to work, school, and normal routines.

It’s unclear exactly why traditional radio streaming numbers are increasing simultaneously, but the answer may have something to do with cost (perhaps some are shifting away from subscription-based music services to save cash) and a desire to stay apprised of the latest coronavirus updates. Also, spring means warmer weather throughout the United States, which has produced a slow uptick in outdoor activity. That mobility — lockdowns notwithstanding — could be prompting more fans to enjoy AM/FM streams.

Medical professionals have diagnosed approximately 1.9 million worldwide COVID-19 cases to date, including about 575,000 infections in the United States. However, new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are leveling off in key cities and areas, and government officials are beginning to plan for the gradual reopening of their economies.

President Trump is expected to announce the federal government’s stance on reopening the economy sometime soon. Additionally, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the governors of five other nearby states are developing a preliminary economic recovery strategy presently.