New Industry Data: Christian Radio Leads Growth

NRB | April 4, 2024 | Industry News

On April 2, Inside Radio shared new data reflecting the continued steady growth in the Contemporary Christian radio format. The genre is ranked fourth in total station count and first in year-over-year growth, with the highest lift compared to any other radio format at 1.7%.

In addition, the Religion format, which includes Christian talk and teaching, holds second place (behind Country) for overall number of stations and notched an impressive 1.1% year-over-year gain.

“While the data is good news for Christian radio, it is not entirely surprising for those of us working in the industry day to day,” shared Mandy Young, Vice President of Radio for the Educational Media Foundation (EMF), an NRB member. “People are desperately searching for community and connection in 2024, two things that Christian radio is all about.”

The Educational Media Foundation (EMF) owns and operates K-LOVE and Air1—the world’s largest Contemporary Christian radio networks.

Data over the past few years continues to point to the Contemporary Christian format as one of the fastest growing genres in radio. In a January 2022 Radio Ink article, Larry Rosin, President and co-founder of Edison Research, shared statistics from Nielsen Media Research that totaled the results of format trends in PPM markets from 2011-2021. Nielsen found the Contemporary Christian radio format as the fastest growing format in America over the decade, with a 49% positive share change.

“I’ve felt a strong shift in how people use Christian radio since 2020,” Young told NRB. “You don’t have to look far to find research indicating that loneliness leads to greater symptoms of anxiety and depression. Christian radio offers people a place to belong with songs that point them to the One who can bring hope, peace, or even a changed life.”

Since the pandemic, the Contemporary Christian format has surged, with no signs of slowing down.

Nielsen also released Q3 data in 2023 which showed that AM/FM radio perseveres as America’s number one mass-reach media, rivaling social media and surpassing TV in weekly reach with an average 12% audience advantage.

“Looking ahead, we are seeking out the next generation of artists who can help lead radio into the next decade,” said Young. “We are also looking for new ways to connect with listeners outside of traditional radio, meeting them where they are through streaming, social media, podcasting and more.”

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