AM/FM Radio Comes Home: The Rise Of Smart Speaker Streaming

April 8, 2019 By Doug Hyde

Smart speakers were a huge headline of Edison Research’s just-released Infinite Dial 2019 study. With such rapid adoption of smart speakers, AM/FM radio is being reintroduced into the home.

To understand what this means for advertisers, CUMULUS MEDIA | Westwood One recently examined the smart speaker listening phenomenon using data from Triton Digital’s Webcast Metrics. Here’s what we found:

AM/FM radio listening on smart speakers has exploded over the past year

According to the Infinite Dial 2019, the percentage of the U.S. population that owns a smart speaker has tripled over the past two years: 7% in 2017 to 23% in 2019. That’s almost 1 of 4 people.

Listeners are increasingly turning to smart speakers to access content from their favorite AM/FM radio stations. In the past year, the percentage of streaming of AM/FM radio stations on smart speakers has more than doubled.

Today, nearly one-fifth of all streaming to U.S. AM/FM radio stations occurs via smart speakers. That’s stunning. This rapid rise in smart speaker streaming has come at the expense of desktop and laptop computers for music listening at home.

Smart speaker listening to Cumulus Radio Stations mirrors the AM/FM radio industry at 19%. Since the introduction of Alexa skills to Cumulus Radio Stations in December 2017, the proportion of streaming via smart speakers has increased nearly five-fold.

Female-skewing format listeners are adopting smart speakers

Top 40 and Adult Contemporary listeners are the most likely to stream Cumulus Radio Stations via their smart speakers.

An amazing 33% of the streaming of Cumulus Radio Stations’ CHR/Top 40 stations occurs via smart speakers. 29% of the streaming audience to the Cumulus Radio Stations’ Adult Contemporary and Country stations occurs via smart speakers.

Smart speaker streaming composition is highest on weekends, representing 36% of total online listening

During the week, the highest proportions of smart speaker listening occurs during early mornings and evenings when listeners are likely to be listening to their smart speaker at home. However, middays are still strong.

Smart speaker users are even more likely to seek out their favorite AM/FM radio stations on weekends. During weekend daytime hours, as much as 36% of the streaming audience for Cumulus Radio Stations comes from smart speakers.

Smart speaker streamers are engaged and loyal audio listeners

Smart speaker listening commands higher time spent listening per month than the average. On a monthly basis, smart speaker listeners spend nearly 8 hours per week streaming the Cumulus Radio Stations, 78% more than the average across all streaming options.

Smart speaker listeners also return more often, listening an average of one more time per week than the typical streaming listener. Smart speaker listeners are engaged, loyal consumers who can be reached often with the right message.

Key takeaways:

  • AM/FM radio listening on smart speakers has exploded over the past year, bringing AM/FM radio back into the home
  • Female-skewing format listeners are adopting smart speaker listening
  • Weekends show the highest composition of smart speaker listening
  • Smart speaker streamers are engaged and loyal audio listeners

Doug Hyde is Senior Director, National & Local Insights at CUMULUS MEDIA | Westwood One.

Contact the Insights team at