Sports radio listeners are generally well-educated and employed, with a high annual income. Of the 23 million Americans who tuned in to sports radio weekly, eight out of 10 were employed, over-indexed on annual incomes of $75,000 or greater, and on college education.
This article will explore the demographic of sports radio listeners in the United States and provide insight into the characteristics of this audience.
By examining the data and trends, we can gain a better understanding of who is listening to sports radio and why.
Check also: the demographics of satellite radio users.
When it comes to sports radio, however, there is a slight difference in listenership between genders:
- 6% of men aged 18-29 and
- 4% of women aged 18-29
- 9% of men aged 30-49
- 7% of women aged 30-49 reported listening to sports radio.
It’s not skewed because men listen more to the radio.
This is quite different from the demographics of broadcast TV.
Radio is a popular medium for both men and women in the United States. In fact, both genders have nearly equal listenership numbers, with:
- 97% of women aged 18-49 listen to radio (not sports specifically)
- 98% of men aged 18-49 listen to radio (not sports specifically).
Overall, it seems that men are slightly more likely to listen to sports radio than women, but the difference is not significant.
It’s interesting to compare this to the demographics of NFL fans.
Here are some facts about the age demographics of sports radio listeners in the United States:
- 6% of respondents aged 18 to 29 years stated that they listened to sports programs on the radio in 2021.
- Generation X (ages 35-54) has the largest reach with 80.5 million listeners tuning during an average month (97% of the Gen X population).
- Millennials (18-34 year olds) have 71.6 million listeners tuning in monthly (95% of the Millennial population).
As we can see, sports radio listenership is highest among Generation X and Millennials. However, only a small percentage of respondents aged 18 to 29 years listen to sports programs on the radio.
It is also worth noting that the number of radio listeners aged 13-34 has grown by a staggering 116% growth in 7 years. This indicates that while younger listeners may not be tuning in to sports radio specifically, they are still listening to the radio in general.
It’s interesting to hold this data against the demographics of reality viewers.
According to a 2018 study by Statista, radio listeners in the United States were predominantly White, making up 68.2% of the total listenership.
Hispanics were the second-largest group, accounting for 16.8% of the listenership, followed by African Americans at 11.5%.
- 68.2% of radio listeners in the United States are White
- 16.8% of radio listeners in the United States are Hispanic
- 11.5% of radio listeners in the United States are African American
While these numbers may not be specific to sports radio listeners, they provide a general idea of the ethnic makeup of the radio audience in the United States.
It is important to note that the demographics of sports radio listeners may differ from those of the overall radio audience. However, without specific data on sports radio listeners, the above statistics provide a starting point for understanding the ethnic makeup of radio listeners in the United States.
Income level plays a significant role in determining the listenership of sports radio. The following are the income demographics of sports radio listeners in the United States:
- Households with an annual income of less than $50,000 make up 29% of sports radio listeners.
- Households with an annual income between $50,000 and $99,999 make up 37% of sports radio listeners.
- Households with an annual income of $100,000 or more make up 34% of sports radio listeners.
As can be seen, the majority of sports radio listeners fall into the middle-income category. However, a significant portion of listeners still come from the lower and higher ends of the income spectrum.
It is interesting to note that the income demographics of sports radio listeners have remained relatively stable over the years, despite the growth in popularity of sports radio.
Check also: The demographics of cable network TV users.
Education Level Demographics
According to a report by Nielsen, sports radio listeners in the United States tend to have higher levels of education than the general population.
Here are some key findings:
- Of the 23 million Americans who tuned in to sports radio weekly, 32% had a college degree and 18% had some college education.
- Only 14% of sports radio listeners had a high school diploma or less.
- Listeners with a college degree over-indexed on sports radio by 22%, while those with some college education over-indexed by 9%.
- Listeners with a high school diploma or less were under-indexed by 38%.
These findings suggest that sports radio is particularly popular among listeners with higher levels of education. It is worth noting, however, that the majority of sports radio listeners still do not have a college degree.
Sports Radio Listener Numbers in the U.S.
According to Statista, there are over 15,445 radio stations in the United States, with all of them competing for a share of the market.
Sports radio is a popular format among many of these stations, with millions of Americans tuning in every week.
- 23 million Americans tuned in to sports radio weekly in 2018
- 8 out of 10 sports radio listeners were employed
- 6% of respondents aged 18 to 29 listened to sports programs on the radio in 2021
- The largest radio station in the U.S. is WTOP, operating out of Washington D.C.
- The average quarter-hour (AQH) share of sports radio listeners aged 18-34 in 2017 was 4.3%
- Listeners aged 35-44 make up 19% of sports radio listeners
These numbers demonstrate the popularity of sports radio in the United States, with a significant portion of the population tuning in on a regular basis.
Biggest Sports Radio Shows in the U.S.
Here are the top 5 National Sports Radio Shows in the U.S. in 2021 according to Barrett Sports Media:
- The Dan Patrick Show – distributed by Premiere Networks and airing on over 360 radio stations across the country.
- The Jim Rome Show – distributed by CBS Sports Radio and airing on over 200 radio stations across the country.
- The Rich Eisen Show – distributed by Westwood One and airing on over 200 radio stations across the country.
- The Doug Gottlieb Show – distributed by Fox Sports Radio and airing on over 200 radio stations across the country.
- The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz – distributed by ESPN Radio and airing on over 200 radio stations across the country.
These shows have a wide reach across the country and are distributed by some of the largest networks in the industry. They also air on various digital and television outlets, making them accessible to a large audience.
Other notable mentions include:
- The Herd with Colin Cowherd – distributed by Fox Sports Radio and airing on over 200 radio stations across the country.
- The Tony Kornheiser Show – distributed by ESPN Radio and airing on over 100 radio stations across the country.
- The Pat McAfee Show – distributed by Westwood One and airing on over 100 radio stations across the country.
It is important to note that these rankings can change from year to year and are based on factors such as reach, distribution, and ratings.
According to a survey conducted in 2021, the majority of sports radio listeners in the United States are located in urban areas.
The breakdown of listeners by location is as follows:
- Urban: 54%
- Suburban: 33%
- Rural: 13%
It is worth noting that the percentage of listeners in rural areas is lower compared to the overall population distribution in the country.
When looking at the breakdown of listeners by region, the survey found that the highest percentage of listeners are located in the South:
- South: 39%
- Midwest: 24%
- Northeast: 19%
- West: 18%
It is interesting to note that the percentage of listeners in the Northeast is lower compared to the overall population distribution in the region.
Another interesting finding is that the percentage of Hispanic listeners is higher compared to the overall population distribution in the country:
- Hispanic: 15%
- African American: 12%
- White: 70%
- Other: 3%
According to a survey conducted by Statista in 2020, the political demographics of sports radio listeners in the United States are as follows:
- 46% of sports radio listeners identify as Republicans
- 27% of sports radio listeners identify as Democrats
- 27% of sports radio listeners identify as Independents
These numbers suggest that sports radio listeners tend to lean towards the Republican party, with a significant minority identifying as Democrats or Independents.
It is worth noting that political affiliation can vary significantly depending on the region and the specific sports radio program being listened to. For example, a sports radio program that focuses on a team in a predominantly Democratic city may have a higher percentage of Democratic listeners.
Overall, understanding the political demographics of sports radio listeners can provide valuable insights for advertisers and broadcasters looking to target specific audiences.
What States have more sports radio listeners?
According to a survey conducted by Nielsen in 2021, the top 5 states with the most sports radio listeners are:
- Ohio – 19.1%
- Pennsylvania – 18.7%
- Michigan – 17.2%
- Indiana – 16.3%
- Wisconsin – 16.0%
It is interesting to note that all of these states are located in the Midwest region of the United States.
On the other hand, the states with the least amount of sports radio listeners are:
- Hawaii – 2.5%
- Alaska – 3.5%
- Utah – 5.5%
- New Hampshire – 5.6%
- Idaho – 5.7%
It is worth noting that these states have a smaller population compared to the top 5 states with the most sports radio listeners.
- Listeners of sports programs on the radio in in the U.S. by age 2021 – Statista
- How America Listens: The American Audio Landscape – Nielsen
- 38 Staggering Radio Listening Statistics (2023) – Soocial