Broadcasting, Broadcaster, Advice

Spoken Word Audio vs. Music on Your Radio Station

In the Spoken Word Audio Report published by NPR with Edison Research in November 2019, they revealed that Americans "are spending more time listening to Spoken Word the expense of music listening." Not only that, but "Spoken Word Audio is growing fastest among young people and [is] increasingly driven by mobile listening."

Spoken word audio listening includes news, sports, and talk, meaning podcasts, spoken-word radio, and audiobooks are all spoken word audio.

While music listening still leads over spoken word audio listening, spoken word audio's share of listening time has increased by 20% over the last 5 years whereas music's share has decreased by 5%. The increase in time spent listening to spoken word audio has also increased in every single age group. Ultimately, these numbers translate to 16 million more people listening to spoken word audio now compared to 5 years ago.

So, how does this break down in terms of regular listeners? Roughly 73% of the U.S. population listen to spoken word audio on a monthly basis, and 43% of the U.S. population listen to spoken word audio daily. So, regular listening, including daily listening, is on the rise.

With that in mind, what exactly are Americans looking for in spoken word audio? In the study, they found that people noted 7 reasons to listen to spoken word audio: to stay up-to-date with the latest topics, to be entertained, to learn new things, to relax, to feel inspired, to escape, and companionship. Thanks to these reasons, spoken word audio tends to yield deep connections and make for especially engaging content.

Now, let's apply this information to internet radio station programming. While it's obvious that people will always be interested in music, this information provides some compelling evidence for adding in some talk programming on your station. Or, you may even consider starting a whole separate station for exclusive talk programming!

With more of the U.S. population listening to spoken word audio and the average time listening to it also increasing, there's no doubt that there is real demand for this kind of programming. And, as a Live365 broadcaster, you have total agency to supply this programming. Plus, who knows! You might find (or already know) that you have a passion for a certain kind of talk programming!

If you decide to add any spoken word audio to your programming, note that listening peaks in the 7-8am hour and 1 hour of the average four hours Americans listen to audio, they are listening to spoken word audio. So, remember the 1:4 ratio of spoken word audio to overall audio to direct your own programming ratio. Also keep in mind that daily spoken word audio listeners tend to average a 2 hours/day listening time.

While these all may seem like just stats, these are pieces of information that you can use to advantage when programming your station! There's no time like now to consider adding some spoken word audio to your station. Because, with daily and mobile listening doubling over the last 5 years and increasing in every age group, the future of spoken word audio is clearly very bright.

See how many stations have joined the Radio Revolution at Keep up with the latest news by following us on Facebook (Live365 Official and Live365 Broadcasting) and Twitter (@Live365 and @Broadcaster365)!

Article Image: Muhammadtaha Ibrahim Ma'aji via Pexels.

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About Michelle Ruoff

  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania