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The Infinite Dial: The Demise of In-Home Radios?

Numbers are falling, especially among the young

This is the final article in a series looking at the recent Infinite Dial report.

Nearly 1 in 5 Americans does not have a radio at home; down from nearly everyone having at least one in-home radio less than a decade ago. This startling revelation comes from the recent Infinite Dial 2016 report. Based on a random telephone survey (both over cellular and landline) of 2001 people 12+, it was compiled by Edison Research and Triton Digital.

Specifically, 21% of respondents ages12+ said that they had no radios in their homes in 2016; up from just 4% making this report in 2008. The number of homes with one to three radios only changed slightly in that same time period: 63% in 2016, down slightly from 65% in 2008. But the “four or more radios” in the home category has shifted as substantially as the “no radio” category. In 2016, just 16% of respondents said their homes had four or more radios; down from 31% in 2008. The mean (average) number of radios in U.S. homes was 1.9 in 2016; down from 2.9 in 2008.

The numbers are even more striking in the 18–34+ category (the only one broken out in the Infinite Dial report). Thirty-two percent of people aged 18–34 who were surveyed in 2016 do not own even one at-home radio receiver; a percentage that has jumped from 6% in 2008. Of the 18–34 group, 60% had one to three at-home radios in 2016; down from 70% in 2008. Only 8% had four or more radios in 2016; down substantially from 24% in 2008. The overall mean average of at-home radios for 18–34s in 2016 was 1.4; it was 2.7 in 2008.

Only time will tell if the in-home radio is an endangered species in American households. The Infinite Dial report made no distinction between clock radios, standalone radios, and radios integrated in home audio systems, which would have been informative. But based on the numbers, the future is not looking promising.

The full Infinite Dial 2016 report is available via a PDF.