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Report Cites “New Highs” for Spoken-Word Content

For first time, mobile devices are primary way people listen to it

Audiences for spoken-word audio listening in the United States continue to grow, as does our overall listening time to spoken content.

Those are findings of a report from NPR and Edison Research, the fifth in a series on this topic.

“Almost half (48%) — approximately 135 million people — of those in the U.S. age 13+ listen to some type of spoken-word audio daily, up two percentage points (46%) from last year,” they said in a summary.

“Listeners in the U.S. age 13+ spend 31% of their daily audio time with spoken word, which is a 55% increase over nine years ago (20%).”

When it comes to where this listening is happening, they said that spoken-word listening at home has grown dramatically.

“Sixty percent of the total daily audio time spent with spoken-word audio is at home, 24% in the car, 13% at work and 3% at some other location. The time spent listening to spoken-word audio at home has grown to 41 daily minutes in 2023 from 27 daily minutes in 2014. Increases in at-home spoken-word audio listening are seen across every hour in the listening day.”

While listening in cars has shifted during and after the pandemic, they said, “AM/FM radio remains on top. Of all the daily time spent listening to spoken-word audio, time spent listening in the car has declined from 36% in 2014 to 24% in 2023. In the car, 62% of spoken-word audio consumed by those in the U.S. age 13+ is to AM/FM radio content, including over the air and streams.”

A slide from the Share of Ear report on spoken word listener habits with data showing that AM/FM radio dominates other platforms for in-car spoken-word listening

But for the first time, the study found, mobile devices are the primary way people listen to spoken-word content, with 39% of spoken-word audio consumed daily by those age 13+ in the U.S. being heard on a mobile device, followed by 35% on an AM/FM radio receiver.

Podcasts, not surprisingly, “represent a large and growing share of spoken-word listening,” and now represent over one-third (36%) of time spent with spoken-word audio.

In the summary, National Public Media VP of Sponsorship Marketing Lamar Johnson described the findings as “a powerful opportunity for brands looking to expand and engage their audience.”

Findings are at

Edison Research’s Share of Ear is a quarterly survey of Americans who are asked to keep a detailed one-day diary of their audio usage. It uses a nationally representative sample of those age 13+. The sample for this study was 4,193 people.