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National Data Book Notes Decline in Radio Listening

The U.S. statistical abstract now is available

The number of hours each person in America spends with radio has fallen from 836 hours per year in 2003 (about 16 per week) to a projected 716 hours in 2009 (about 13.7 per week).

That’s one of the many data points in the latest “Statistical Abstract of the United States,” which now is available from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Though the number of hours spent with radio fell in recent years, the number of households with radio sets grew, from 100.5 million in 2000 to 115.6 million in 2008. The average household has eight radio sets, up from 5.6 in 2000, the Census Bureau thinks.

Some 124,000 people worked in radio broadcasting as of 2008, with an industry payroll of about $6.03 billion. Both of those numbers were down slightly from the year before.

Filled with hundreds of tables and thousands of compilations, the abstract is famous for being a trivia buff’s good friend and a boon to marketers, social scientists, economists, business planners, researchers of all types, etc.

And while most of the data are a little too macro for individual or local station use, it does offer a snapshot of overall market trends for larger operations.

The Census Bureau makes clear that the data come from many sources, not just its own census. Sources for the data include the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis and many other federal agencies and private organizations (like the Radio Advertising Bureau and the FCC).

Trivia or trend geeks will have a great time just browsing the samples or nosing around the many PDFs. Section 24 deals with Information & Communications (PDF) and includes the charts of media usage.