- List of most-listened-to radio programs
In the United States radio listenership is gauged by Arbitron and others for both commercial radio and public radio. Arbitron and similar services provide estimates by regional market and by standard daypart, but does not compile nationwide information by host. Because there are significant gaps in Arbitron's coverage in rural areas, and because there are only a few markets where Arbitron's proprietary data can be compared against competing ratings measurers, there is a great deal of estimation and interpolation when attempting to compile a list of the most-listened-to radio programs in the United States.
Talkers Magazine, a trade publication focusing on talk radio, compiles a list of the most-listened-to commercial long-form talk shows in the United States, based primarily on Arbitron data and estimated to the nearest 250,000 listeners. In addition to Talkers' independent analyses, radio companies of all formats include estimates of audience in news releases. The nature of news releases allows radio companies to inflate their listener totals by obscuring the difference between listeners at any given time, cumulative listenership over a time frame, and potential audience.
The total listenership for terrestrial radio in the year 2005 was 230 million. Sirius XM Radio has a base of 18.5 million subscribers as of 2009. American Top 40 attracts over 20 million listeners per week. Rush Limbaugh's show has been the number one commercial talk show since at least 1991 when record keeping began. NPR's Morning Edition and All Things Considered are the two most popular news programs.
Until the development of portable people meters, Arbitron did not have the capability to measure individual airings of a program the way Nielsen Ratings can for television, and as such, it only measures in three-month moving averages each month. Portable people meters are currently only available in the largest markets Arbitron serves. Thus, it is impossible under current survey techniques to determine the listenership of an individual event such as the Super Bowl.
Popular radio shows in the United States
Talkers Magazine compiles Arbitron's data, along with other sources, to estimate the minimum weekly audiences of various commercial long-form talk radio shows. NPR also compiles Arbitron's data for its public radio shows and releases analysis through press releases.
Program Weekly Listeners
American Top 40 20+ worldwide The Rush Limbaugh Show 15+ The Sean Hannity Show 14+ Morning Edition 13+ All Things Considered 13+ Glenn Beck Program 9+ The Savage Nation 9+ The Mark Levin Show 8.5+ The Dave Ramsey Show 8.5+ Delilah 8+ The Neal Boortz Show 6+ The Laura Ingraham Show 6+ Fresh Air 5+ Car Talk 4+ Coast to Coast AM 3+ (Most listened to late-night radio show)
Other terrestrial programs, such as news and music, are not generally estimated in as much detail.
Sirius XM Radio was monitored directly by Arbitron from 2007 to early 2008. The latest numbers available, from early 2008 (prior to when XM and Sirius merged), have The Howard Stern Show being the most listened-to show on either platform, with Stern's Howard 100 channel netting a "cume" of 1.2 million listeners. Eastlan Ratings, a service that competes with Arbitron in several markets, includes satellite radio channels in its local ratings; Howard 100 has registered above several lower-end local stations in the markets Eastlan serves, the only satellite station to do so.
The highest rated local talk program in the United States is John and Ken in Los Angeles. Talkers estimates their audience at 1 million listeners.
Past top programs in the United States
A. C. Nielsen rated the top ten radio shows in 1955:
- Jack Benny Program (CBS)
- Amos 'n' Andy (CBS)
- People Are Funny (NBC)
- Our Miss Brooks (CBS)
- Lux Radio Theater (NBC)
- My Little Margie (CBS)
- Dragnet (NBC)
- FBI in Peace and War (CBS)
- Bergen and McCarthy (CBS)
- Groucho Marx's You Bet Your Life (NBC)
Paul Harvey had an estimated audience of between 20 and 22 million prior to his death in 2009.
Current top stations in the United Kingdom
Total listenership in the United Kingdom in December 2010 was 46.73 million, all BBC programming had 34.51 million listeners, and all commercial programming had 33.06 million listeners. The figures counted listeners over the age of 15 who tuned in for at least five minutes.
As of December 2010 Program Listeners
BBC Radio 2 13.94 BBC Radio 1 11.42 BBC Radio 4 10.32 BBC Radio 5 Live 7.09 Classic FM (UK) 5.72 talkSPORT 3.09 BBC Radio 3 2.22 Magic 105.4 FM 2.05
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- ^ a b "The Top Talk Radio Audiences". Talkers magazine. September 2010. http://www.talkers.com/top-talk-radio-audience. Retrieved 2011-09-06.
- ^ a b "Latest top host figures". Talkers magazine. 2011. http://www.talkers.com/top-talk-radio-audience/. Retrieved 2011-09-06. "The new figures are in and Talkers magazine’s Fall 2011 estimates of the weekly cume ratings and rankings of the nation’s most listened-to radio talk show hosts, based on Spring 2011 local market Arbitron reports and other factors"
- ^ Manly, Lorne (2005). "Satellite Radio Takes Off, Altering the Airwaves". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/05/national/05satellite.html?pagewanted=all&position=. Retrieved 2008-12-18. "Still, satellite radio is also unlikely to inflict fatal damage on commercial radio, which has about 230 million listeners, according to Arbitron, the radio ratings provider."
- ^ "SIRIUS XM Radio Reports Third Quarter 2009 Results". http://investor.sirius.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=422100. Retrieved 2009-12-14.
- ^ "American Top 40 Celebrates 40th Anniversary This Weekend". Clear Channel. 2010. http://www.clearchannel.com/Radio/PressRelease.aspx?PressReleaseID=2725. Retrieved 2010-12-07. "“American Top 40 is the soundtrack to life; it sparks emotion and memories, and has a huge impact on pop culture,” stated Seacrest, music’s number one radio host in the U.S. with a weekly worldwide audience estimated at more than 20 million."
- ^ Chafets, Zev (July 6, 2008). "Late-Period Limbaugh". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/06/magazine/06Limbaugh-t.html?ref=magazine&pagewanted=all. Retrieved 2008-12-18. "Talkers magazine, a trade publication, puts Limbaugh’s weekly audience at 14 million."
- ^ a b "NPR REACHES NEW AUDIENCE HIGH". National Public Radio. 2009. http://www.npr.org/about/press/2009/032409.AudienceRecord.html. Retrieved 2010-12-07. "All Things Considered increased its audience by 15% over the previous year to rise from 11.5 million to 13 million listeners weekly becoming the second NPR newsmagazine to top 13 million. Morning Edition reached nearly 14 million listeners weekly, 9% above Fall 2007 numbers."
- ^ "The Top Talk Radio Audiences (Updated 3/11)". Talkers Magazine. http://www.talkers.com/top-talk-radio-audience/. Retrieved 06 September 2011.
- ^ "NPR's Car Talk Listeners Pick Ugliest New Car". National Public Radio. 2005. http://www.npr.org/about/press/050409.uglycar.html. Retrieved 2010-12-07. "Car Talk is public radio's most popular entertainment program, airing on nearly 600 stations with more than 4.4 million listeners a week tuning in for an hour long tune-up on car advice and humor."
- ^ "NPR Programs Attract Record-Breaking Audiences Public Radio Listenership at All-Time High". National Public Radio. 2002. http://www.npr.org/about/press/020319.recordbreak.html. Retrieved 2008-12-17. "Growth in the NPR news/talk audience outpaced similar gains realized by commercial news/talk radio."
- ^ Freedman, Samuel G. (2005-07-17). "'Listener Supported' and 'NPR': All Things Considered". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/17/books/review/17FREEDMA.html?scp=1&sq=%22all%20things%20considered%22&st=cse. Retrieved 2008-12-17. "National Public Radio alone reaches more than 20 million listeners, and its daily newsmagazine shows, All Things Considered and Morning Edition, attract a larger audience than any program except Rush Limbaugh's."
- ^ http://www.cnyradio.com/eastlan-ratings-syracuse/
- ^ Pendergrast, Mark (1999). Uncommon grounds: the history of coffee and how it transformed our world. ISBN 0465054676. http://books.google.com/books?id=Da_d7SKHVGIC&pg=PA194&dq=%22top+radio+show%22&ei=jt5NScWBGI6syATGrdzkDQ. "By the beginning of 1933 "Maxwell House Show Boat" was the top radio show in the country, a status it would maintain for the next two years. ..."
- ^ Thomas, Bob (1971). Winchell. http://books.google.com/books?id=ajUrAAAAMAAJ&q=%22most-listened-to+radio+programs%22&dq=%22most-listened-to+radio+programs%22&ei=o9JNSe7WBYKEzgSG8fyyCQ&pgis=1. "His ranking among the most listened-to radio programs climbed higher and higher until in 1948 his audience was the biggest in radio."
- ^ Garrett, Eddie (2005). I Saw Stars in the 40's and 50's. ISBN 1412058384. http://books.google.com/books?id=TDbGVZj5qzgC&pg=PA26&dq=jack+benny+%22most+popular+radio+show%22&lr=&ei=VNdNSYTGKoiUzAS5z6G0CA. "In a short time, Benny became the most popular radio show in America in 1930s and 1940's"
- ^ "The Busy Air". Time magazine. February 7, 1955. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,823759,00.html. Retrieved 2009-01-07. "The Nielsen ratings of the top ten radio shows seemed to indicate that not much has changed in radio: 1) Jack Benny Program (CBS), 2) Amos 'n' Andy (CBS), 3) People Are Funny (NBC), 4) Our Miss Brooks (CBS) 5) Lux Radio Theater (NBC), 6) My Little Margie (CBS), 7) Dragnet (NBC), 8) FBI in Peace and War (CBS), 9) Bergen and McCarthy (CBS), 10) Groucho Marx's You Bet Your Life (NBC)."
- ^ "Quarterly Listening". Rajar. http://www.rajar.co.uk/listening/quarterly_listening.php.
- ^ "BBC World Service records its best listening figures ever despite cuts". BBC. June 02, 2009. http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2009/06_june/02/audience.shtml. Retrieved 2009-06-23. "It uses multiple platforms to reach 188 million users globally, including shortwave, AM, FM, digital satellite and cable channels."
- ^ Armin van Buuren Official Site - News
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